Nor should they be..
However, there are times when that’s all the time you have. Sometimes you have even less. Perhaps as little as 8 seconds. (Have I already lost you?)
Do you need the full three minutes?
For the sake of argument let’s just say you do. If you only had three minutes to get your point across, could you?
Warning: You only have 8 seconds!
Three minutes is about 22 times more than you might actually be able to keep someone’s attention. I’m not saying that you’re boring people, but the fact is people only have an attention span of about eight seconds. How will you keep their eight seconds of attention let alone 22 times more than that?
Eight seconds is all you’ve got.
A Microsoft study highlights the deteriorating attention span of humans, saying it has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000 to eight seconds today.
Smartphones are making humans subject to the whims of a passing squirrel. In this study – researchers have discovered that the human attention span has dropped by 50% in 15 years.
I wrote about this in Living in the Age of the Goldfish Response Rate.
End, Middle, Beginning
Since you only have three minutes you better start with the end in mind. Meaning you better know what you want from your three minutes of conversation before you get started.
Begin with the end in mind.
~ Stephen Covey, Habit 2
Are you in the habit of thinking about the ask and putting it at the beginning of the conversation?
If not, this is a good time to learn about that.
For example, if you want to get someone to attend your event ask them at the beginning. If you want to ask someone for money ask them at the beginning. If you want someone to do something for you ask them at the beginning.
Why ask at the beginning?
Because if you have to put a bunch of preamble in front of your ask your never going to get to the ask.
Remember your goal is to make a request of someone to do something for you. Which is why you’re putting the ask (aka the request) upfront.
What if the person agrees to your ask right away?
There are two ways to think about this. One is to thank them and stop talking. The other is to have your Plan B for your secondary ask.
Where do we go from here?
Now, let’s go beyond imagining it and expect it.
You just got on an elevator with someone you’ve been wanting to speak to.
You’ve Got 3 Minutes. What Will You Say?