Engaging Short Attention Span Audiences
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Engaging Short Attention Span Audiences

The ACORN Communication Strategy: Getting a Squirrel to Focus; Engage and Persuade Today's Listeners
5.0 (3 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
22 students enrolled
Last updated 2/2016
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Current price: $10 Original price: $150 Discount: 93% off
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  • 40 mins on-demand video
  • 1 Supplemental Resource
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Apply persuasive communication elements to everyday business situations to make messages more effective and efficient.
  • Understand how to deliver messages based on the five essential elements of persuasion.
  • Create messages based on persuasion theory, using both basic and advanced techniques of persuasive structure, storytelling, and effective data transfer.
View Curriculum
  • No prior knowledge is needed for this course.

Getting your message across is harder today than it has ever been. More information, more distractions and shorter attention spans provide competition for every message you create. It is hard for us to listen, and we jump from one thought to the next very quickly. This jumpy and sporadic listening behavior reminds me of the squirrels I see in my yard. They are constantly moving and seem fidgety and unfocused. The only thing that seems to gain and hold their interest is an acorn.

Through my years of experience in research and teaching, I have found that squirrels are like today’s audience, but research has shown us a way to get their attention and keep it. More effective and efficient communication leads to better collaboration, sales calls and peer interaction. Communication is the cornerstone of effective leadership. If you cannot get your message across clearly and concisely, it is difficult to lead others and impact decision-making.

Participants in this course will learn how to be persuasive in short segment communication by gaining an understanding of how to apply the five essential elements of persuasion to various business settings. Since most of today’s interaction is in short time frames, not long presentation format, we will be learning the art and science of short, persuasive messages. This course provides an easy and practical strategy to help get you message across.

This course is unique due to the emphasis we place on education plus experience. The difference is that our teaching and coaching is based on academically sound theories of communication and persuasion. This rigorous research, coupled with over 20 years of experience teaching to both corporate clients and Wharton MBA students, ensures that the theories support practical application and the use of communication in everyday situations.

Who is the target audience?
  • This course is meant for anyone who tries to persuade those with short attention spans.
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Curriculum For This Course
4 Lectures 05:29

This worksheet will help guide you through the 5 strategies of creating a targeted persuasive message for any situation. You can print this worksheet to follow along in this course to get practice creating your own message.

Start by thinking of a situation and audience that you will need to persuade in the next few days. Applying the tools learned in this course, you can craft your own persuasive message.

Preview 00:26
7 Lectures 06:02

For each statement below, select WIIFM or non-WIIFM.

Identify the WIIFM
3 questions

Check all that apply.

Hazards of not using a WIIFM
1 question

Let's listen in as Jim gets advice from his friend Bob on how to persuade his boss to let him go to a conference.

Preview 01:34

6 Lectures 09:39
Introduction to Credibility

Types of Credibility

Establishing Personal Credibility

Establishing Credentialed Credibility

Choose the correct answers from those listed below.

What is Credibility?
1 question

Select the two types of credibility from the list below.

Select the two types of credibility.
1 question

Credibility in Action, Part 1

Credibility in Action, Part 2
Order of Message
6 Lectures 06:17

The Third Strategy of ACORN is Order of Message.

Introduction to Order of Message

Importance of Framing a Message

The Narrative Structure

The Persuasive Structure

Identify the passage as having a narrative structure or a persuasive structure.

Identify the Structure
4 questions

Identify each statement as “Framed WIIFM,” “Credibility Building,” or “Supporting Evidence.”

Identify the Statement
3 questions

Order of Message in Action, Part 1

Order of Message in Action, Part 2
Remember Me
7 Lectures 06:26
Introduction to Remember Me

Schema and Learning

Simplicity and Retention

Chunking Information

A Call to Action

Click the correct answer from those listed.

Why is Simplicity Important?
1 question

Select which three elements are important for a good Call to Action.

Elements of a Call to Action
1 question

Remember Me in Action, Part 1

Remember Me in Action, Part 2
Need to Connect
6 Lectures 04:43
Introduction to Need to Connect

Emotion and Memory

Word Choice


For each statement, choose which strategy is being used.

Identify the Strategy
3 questions

Which functions does the amygdala serve?

Function of the Amygdala
1 question

Need to Connect in Action, Part 1

Need to Connect in Action, Part 2
1 Lecture 01:51
Strategy Summary
About the Instructor
Dr. Patricia Scott
5.0 Average rating
3 Reviews
22 Students
1 Course
Communication Expert

Dr. Patricia Scott will help you speak, lead and inspire and can enhance any presentation, conversation, negotiation, sales call or interview. Her specialty is teaching the tools and strategy to break through distraction. In today’s world with so much noise, she can help you get your message heard.

More than 15 years of corporate leadership experience -- coupled with a Ph.D. in Communication, her role as Lecturer in the Communication Program at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and her national best-selling book “Getting a Squirrel to Focus: Engage and Persuade Today’s Listeners” -- establishes her as a leader in the field of communication and provides her clients a unique blend of time-tested strategies and real-world application.

Dr. Scott specializes in the art and science of communication and will help you polish your skills, build your confidence and make your personal communication more effective. Whether it is public speaking, persuasion, data presentation, or facilitation, her methods can enhance any communication. These strategies have proven effective across many industries such as technology, pharmaceutical and medical device.

In addition to her work with the Wharton MBA program for the past 11 years, Dr. Scott has also lectured extensively for the Wharton MBA for Executives Program and the Wharton Executive Education Program at the Aresty Institute for Executive Education.

Dr. Scott has been repeatedly invited to address the Conference on Corporate Communication New York, Hong Kong and Wroxton, England. The conference is offered in association with Corporate Communication International at Baruch College, City University of New York. At her first conference, she was awarded “Best Paper of Conference” for her analysis of social, task and semantic networks of knowledge workers. Her scholarly work has been published in “Corporate Communications: An International Journal,” a peer-reviewed journal published by Emerald Publications. She has been asked to continue to serve annually on the program committee for the Conference on Corporate Communication.

She serves on the advisory board for the Master of Arts program in Corporate Communication at Baruch College of the City University of New York. Pat earned a B.A. in Secondary Education from the University of Dayton, an M.A. in Corporate and Organizational Communications from Farleigh Dickinson University, and a Ph.D. in Corporate Communications from Rutgers University.