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From the desk of Steve Lowell, Master Speaker and Mentor to those who speak in public.

Preparing to Master the Stage

Remember the Ten to Twelve Rule

According to John Medina in his book, Brain Rules, you have ten to twelve minutes to hold your audienceís attention, and then they start to drift away from you. If the information in your presentation isnít too boring but not overly exciting, youíll need to build something that breaks the flow of information every ten to twelve minutes.

Studies reviewed by Dr. Medina confirm his findings on this matter. It seems that before the fifteen-minute mark of a normal presentation, the audience has checked out. Thereís no real consensus as to precisely why this occurs, but itís been substantiated. So, what does that mean to you?

It means that, when you prepare your talk or presentation and itís going to be longer than ten to twelve minutes, youíll want to include something to snap your audience out of their mental pattern and reengage their attention. So, how do you do that? Try telling a story, offering an example or showing an exhibit or demonstrationóanything that gets your audienceís mind out of their intellect, and into their emotions or creativity.

The key here is to make sure the material included to break the flow of information is material relevant to the subject at hand. Use the opportunity to further enhance the learning experience, as opposed to redirecting the audienceís attention completely off topic.

So, whatís the lesson? Plan to interrupt the flow of information every ten to twelve minutes.

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