Speakers spend 80% of their working hours communicating and 45% of that time listening to others, co-workers, meeting planners, audiences, family, and acquaintances. Studies have shown that most people understand, evaluate and retain approximately 7% of what is said.
This is the same for face-to-face and virtual presentations.
Face-to-face presentations give 38%, based on the tonality of our voice with 55%, on our physiology, what our body is doing both internally and externally while speaking.
Virtual speaking has changed those numbers. The tonality of our voice is now 55% in a presentation with 38% being our non-verbal communication such as gestures, eye contact, and platform mechanics. This shift has resulted in audiences doing much more active rather than passive listening. The words we use and what we say is still 7%.
Why don’t audiences remember and retain more than 7% of presentations?
The reasons can be many including:
- Habitual shortened attention spans due to rapid technological changes such as computers and cell phones.
- Consistent distractions from emails, text messages, and call-waiting.
Yet despite all of our attempts at improving communications, we often neglect the communication skill used the most — listening.
Audiences provide the speaker with signals of indifference, disengaged, fidgeting, whispering, or boredom. Speakers must be intuitive and able to observe and decipher these signs and develop strategies immediately for sharing an audience’s ideas, thoughts, and feelings. Speakers have a unique opportunity to become listeners in their audience’s life. This interaction between an audience and speaker can open the doors for enhanced learning and memorable presentations.