8 Second Attention Span: Make Your Communication Visual

8 Second Attention Span: Make Your Communication Visual

You arrive at work only to find the department was not prepped for the upcoming surge in new business. When you ask your manager what happened, you hear something about the night shift not following through on the plan.  As they are talking you can feel yourself getting angry, tuning out the list of excuses that keep coming… Sound familiar?

Lack of follow through, not having anything “stick,” and other examples of complacency and conflict I hear frequently from my clients.

There is too much information coming across everyone’s path; people have lost the ability to focus. This makes it essential to deliver clear and concise messages.

How can you simplify your message?

We are living with an 8 second attention span. (A goldfish has the attention span of 9 seconds.)

Never before has there been so much competing for our attention. With the information overload so typical today and the tsunami of distractions, there is little awareness about the impact of this on daily communication. Digital communication, texting, email and social media have made communication strategies even more complex.

Communication breakdown is responsible for the conflict and disengagement that plagues the workplace.

Make it Visual

With so much competing for our attention, it pays to build in repetition. Our brain naturally thinks in images – so make your communication visual. In the world of agile lean sigma, one of the tools used is Kanban. Literally, Kanban means visual (kan) card (ban). It began as an inventory control process to match production with demand. This helped improve quality and manage production.

The Kanban approach is used to organize workflow (and value) as well as solve problems for consistent results. To make your message visual, use boards to display workflow and expectations. This keeps the process open and transparent with teams that may be virtual or cross functional. This supports management’s need to quickly understand what is going on, while the front line understands goals and expectations.

The information on these boards can be taken in quickly and they highlight what is most important – benchmarks, goals, progress, challenges.

Would you like to know more about Kanban and other lean tools? Check out the Work Smart Club.

The Work Smart Club

is an online center for Work & Well-being with short training you can consume on the go as well as courses that dive deeper into the subject.  Membership is a great value!


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8 Second Attention Span

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Dr. Cynthia Howard

Executive Coach  Performance Consultant  LSSBB

It takes resilience and agility to stay focused in these disruptive times. We want to help you get ahead of the challenges in this digital age with short practical tips. Go forward. Be your best

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