When we communicate with clients, often times our primary meeting includes revealing what we call: The Seven Truths About Events (that you may not want to know).
These are the things that WILL happen in your event unless you take measures to prevent them. And they're not great for the event OR your bottom line.
We'll go into detail about each of these Seven Truths, but briefly, they are:
1. 95% of what is delivered in a typical meeting environment is forgotten 24 hours later.
2. The attention span of the average adult is between 5 - 7 minutes.
3. The thing that convinces you isn’t necessarily the thing that convinces someone else.
4. People generally only remember the opening and closing parts of any given presentation.
5. All events produce an outcome...but it might not be the one you want.
6. Adults are just kids in big bodies.
7. If a topic isn’t relevant, the brain doesn’t retain it.
Frightening--but don't worry, you can negate these factors through techniques like brain-based learning, interaction and strategic planning.
Let's explore the first truth: 95% of what is delivered in a typical meeting environment is forgotten 24 hours later. You might as well shake hands with your colleagues at the end of an event and say, "Congratulations, we've just had the best event that no one will remember."
Maybe that's a little harsh--the average person will retain that 5%--but you have no idea which 5% is going to stick. What if it's the dinner entertainment and not the CEO's goals and directives for the year?
So how do we solve the problem? Utilizing brain-based learning strategies you can make more of your content stick in the minds of your audience—and strategically reinforce key content to make sure that the most important messages go home with them.
Help your audience remember more key content:
1. Give breaks in between presentations for the audience to write notes and absorb the information.
Your brain needs a break. Going from one topic to the next, to the next in a typical event can lead to information overload. Something as simple as writing down notes after the presentation, or being encouraged to share one's key takeaways with a neighbor can dramatically increase retention. Of course, encourage attendees to take notes during presentations as well.
2. Have 3 key points per presentation—no more.
Simple is best when it comes to your key content. Sure, there may be many things to talk about (I've never been in a situation where there was a *lack* of things to talk about), but narrow them down so that you're sure the most important things are going to stick.
3. Reinforce key points at the beginning (pre-framing), middle (informing) and end (reviewing) of a presentation.
Tell the audience what you're going to talk about, elaborate on it, then review what you've just talked about. It may seem redundant on the surface, but that doesn't mean you have to say things the exact same way every time.
Pre-framing will prepare your audience for the information. This is why we look at maps before we go on a trip--to see where we're going. This way, the audience can also "look" for your messaging within the speech--they know which key points to watch out for.
Elaborating using stories, pictures, video, etc. will give your audience the meat of the information. They may not remember every detail from this elaboration, but they'll still remember the key points.
Reviewing will tie the speech up neatly, and remind the audience about the key points. This is also where you can insert action items related to the key points. I.e. "We want to grow revenue 16% this year...and this means you have to..."
Do these things consistently, and you can stretch that 5% retention. Most importantly, you can begin to control WHICH percentage of the meeting is sticking in the minds of your audience--the key message points.