The world I grew up in and the world my young son is growing up in are vastly different. And I’m not even that old! But when I was a kid, there was no cable TV, no internet, no streaming content… We had five channels, and you watched what was on, commercials and all, and when the show was over, you watched what was on next, or you turned the TV off and did something else. My son, on the other hand, doesn’t know what commercials are, all the content he consumes is streamed over the internet, and he can watch the next episode immediately afterwards if he wants to, and if we let him. If he doesn’t like the show, he switches to something else… immediately. It is a dramatically different world, and attention spans are forever changed, because there is an unlimited amount of content available.
This is the world that you and I now exist in, and in which we must try to capture and maintain attention. When we communicate in the workplace, we have to think differently. We have to make conscious choices about how we are going to capture attention… about how we are going to get to the point quickly, and make sure the point is valuable and interesting.
In our work, we see far too many people who have yet to grasp the implications of the on-demand content world. We see many baby boomers, in particular, who communicate as if they are still living in a you-have-no-other-choice-but-to-listen-to-me world. The choices are limitless and the behaviors towards content and the capacity of attention spans are forever changed.
How will you react to this new world? Because if you are like many of the people we meet, you haven’t reacted yet.
Have a great day!