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How Long Before Delegates Tune Out?

June 25th, 2014 by Kennedy

Attention Span Of People At EventsConferences and events with multiple workshops, speakers and trainings mean that you’ve got to get the balance between giving enough, and not overloading people with too much.

The biggest fear for most of us is that the delegates will disengage and start staring out of the window.

There is a lot of research that says that, unless the audience is being ‘entertained by something fast paced and entertaining’ then the average attention span of most people is just 20 minutes.

I’ll talk about the specific strategies used by professional entertainers and keynote speakers to keep attention for much longer in their shows, concerts and performances in tomorrow’s article.

So since humans can focus on a particular task for twenty minutes before their mind wanders off, it might be a good idea to look at your event in terms of 20-minute blocks.

Easy Ways To Do This

The task of chunking everything down in to 20-minute pieces might sound difficult or impossible, but really all it means is that we have to look at introducing a change of some sort at 20-minute integers.

This could be a change of environment, a short comfort break half-way through a 40-minute address, a state change (e.g. from sitting listening to an interactive activity).

It is easy to imagine that this 20-minute rule only applies to when folks are sat watching presentations, but the truth is that it even applies to interactive activities. After 20-minutes participants are starting to drift off.

What This Does To The Brain

The effect this can have on delegates is that they view your event as one that was engaging, since they never really had chance to drift off in to their own little dream world.

They’ll also see it as having been packed and varied. The perceived value here is even greater than if your event was one long presentation.

So there you have it, the 20-minute rule for events, meetings and conferences to help you get more out of them by understanding the attention spans of the people.


Amy Evans
Amy Evans
14:54 15 Mar 17
Kennedy was very professional, really entertaining and completely different to what we have booked in the past in terms of an after dinner speaker and entertainment. The performance amazed the whole audience and really lifted the spirits in the entire room in time for our formal proceedings.I would definitely recommend Kennedy to anyone looking for corporate entertainment.
james Sheeran
james Sheeran
08:35 16 Mar 17
What a fantastic night’s entertainment Mind of Kennedy provided. Some of the stuff he did is still being talked about at our company days after! Make sure you book him for your corporate event; you won’t be disappointed!
Kerry Celeste
Kerry Celeste
11:10 09 Feb 17
Absolutely spectacular show! Never seen anything like it. We were all mesmerised from beginning to end. I can highly recommend Kennedy’s show to anyone looking for entertainment for a party, wedding or corporate event. He really was outstanding and kept us all laughing & on the edge of our seats all night!
IAmy Amy
IAmy Amy
11:41 24 Aug 16
Jane Bradshaw
Jane Bradshaw
12:44 10 Jul 17
(Feedback about our ruby wedding party last night) – Kennedy was absolutely fantastic. Not only did he work the room really well, and include people from different parts of the room, which is so important, but also he was an absolute delight to work with before, during and after the event... no trouble at all and completely accommodating. The act was tremendous and I love the idea that all our guests are sitting at home today over the Sunday papers, saying "how did he do that?!" I would have no hesitation in recommending Kennedy to anyone I know. Best wishes and thanks again to Kennedy for entertaining all our guests so well at our party. Jane & Pete Bradshaw
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