Thursday, July 15, 2010

What Do You Remember From What You Heard?

For the past few days, Makovsky’s Director of Training and I have been involved in training the senior management of a multi-billion dollar public company — the CEO, COO, CFO and a few others — in media and presentation skills.

Why? To ensure they are communicating optimally to investors, media, customers, government officials and other influencers who will determine the company’s valuation and success.

Today, every consumer has access to every investor message and vice-versa, making “shop-talk” obsolete. In this transparent world, audiences are looking closely not only at what management does — but also at what they say, how they look and what they sound like.

So clarity in communications is fundamental. But even then, once the “speech” is over, does the audience remember what management said? According to our Director of Training (and independent research), not for long:

Time After Talk

Percent Forgotten

1 hour


1 day


1 week


Yes, just a week later, people can recall only 10% of a presentation. But if we penetrate that figure more deeply, the 10% breaks down, surprisingly, this way:

55% of the 10% is physical appearance

35% of the 10% is voice quality

10% of the 10% is content

Thus, if recall is only minimally related to what management said, why bother to get your content and style right in the first place? Because the judgment audiences make about management on the spot – when recall is optimum – will influence the quality of future perceptions a week, a year or even many years later.

Technorati Tags: media presentation skills, shop-talk, speech, perception, content and style


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