–The average attention span of a human being in 2000:
–The average attention span of a human being in 2023: 8.25
–The average attention span of a goldfish: 9
Do I have your attention now?!
This is the unfortunate reality you are up against in
the courtroom. A goldfish has a longer attention span than today’s average
juror . . .
Our attention span has shortened as our world has
become more complex, faster, more demanding, and more bite-sized. This is not a
put-down of jurors or anyone else. It is simply a reality that is best dealt
with, not avoided.
Short sentences, introducing a single idea in a single
sentence, pausing between short paragraphs–these are techniques that will
serve you well in assuring you retain juror attention.
Beyond that, use visuals. We have become a visually-obsessed
society. We are geared to paying attention to visuals, rather than words. The
good news is that when well-designed and executed, visuals can encapsulate
lengthy explanations that the jurors can grasp in those critical 8 seconds,
whereas the verbal explanation–albeit still necessary–may take hours to thoroughly