Timing is everything. Timing determined if you found this blog or missed it. It determined your last car accident, whether you met your wife or not, whether your child was conceived, whether you’ve kept your job, whether your last batch of popcorn got burned or whether your heart works. If you think about it, time assembles the pieces of our lives in thousands of ways every moment. If you stop to consider the ways, it is dizzying! Those with a healthy respect for the march of time wield wisdom. Those who ignore it find they are eventually bulldozed by circumstance. In the world of television or internet video retail, timing is as important a consideration as when Robin Williams expertly delivers his rapid-fire punchlines. Phrases like “placement” “problem-solution,” “the big wow,” “circle back,” “time to wrap,” “dollars per minute,” “stretch,” or “cut” are snapshots of phrases dealing exclusively with timing in my world. There are many, many more and the tick of the second hand carries great weight. Have you ever read a book that began slowly? Your friends told you it’s a great book. “You just need to give it a chance,” they said. You read the first 3 chapters and put it down. It just became one of those books you’ll get back to. A year from then, you are still intending to “get back to” that book. Which books are the ones you can’t put down starting with the first page? Think about it. They usually begin with: John never thought this was possible. The horizon was ablaze. Houses were engulfed and thousands of people were treading water. The screams were deafening. Few would live to see the dawn. And to think: this all started with a child’s toy. Was there a build up? Did you have to pay your dues with diligent attention before the payoff? No. That story handed you a reason to keep reading immediately. Just like any great author or script writer, when you sell a product on camera, you are taking your audience on a journey. First, you must give them a reason to watch, then you must keep your watcher watching. It is the recipe every scrap of media strives for. In this age of distraction, a viewer’s attention is as fragile as the screen on her iPhone. Your tether to her mind is as frail as cobweb. Give that viewer a moment of lag and her iPhone will snap into place, negating the next 15 minutes of your presentation as she realizes that Kathy has been sending her multiple texts, Facebook is blowing up with the latest drama and the phone company is sending her an email about being over her data limit. When I begin a presentation, there needs to be a powerful appeal to my viewer. Something needs to grab her attention immediately. If I wait 30 seconds, it is too long. Once I hear, “This is Cory,” the very next thing needs to be impactful and immediate. Then, there is a formula for circling back to the demos and phrases that are most gripping. It is folly to stumble about with a head full of knowledge and no decisive plan for engagement. The clock is ticking and unforgiving. The end of your brief opportunity when people are paying attention is coming fast. Your viewer has decided to begin a journey with you. Keep it fascinating or else!
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