Engaging Short Attention Span Audiences

The ACORN Communication Strategy: Getting a Squirrel to Focus; Engage and Persuade Today's Listeners
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  • Lectures 37
  • Length 41 mins
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 2/2016 English

Course Description

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.

What are the requirements?

  • No prior knowledge is needed for this course.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • 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.

Who is the target audience?

  • This course is meant for anyone who tries to persuade those with short attention spans.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Welcome
Video Vignettes Introduction

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.

Section 2: Audience
The Filtering Process
Relevance and Filtering
What's In It For Me?
Locating the WIIFM
3 questions

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

1 question

Check all that apply.


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.

Audience in Action, part 2
Section 3: Credibility
Introduction to Credibility
Types of Credibility
Establishing Personal Credibility
Establishing Credentialed Credibility
1 question

Choose the correct answers from those listed below.

1 question

Select the two types of credibility from the list below.

Credibility in Action, Part 1
Credibility in Action, Part 2
Section 4: Order of Message

The Third Strategy of ACORN is Order of Message.

Importance of Framing a Message
The Narrative Structure
The Persuasive Structure
4 questions

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

3 questions

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

Order of Message in Action, Part 1
Order of Message in Action, Part 2
Section 5: Remember Me
Introduction to Remember Me
Schema and Learning
Simplicity and Retention
Chunking Information
A Call to Action
1 question

Click the correct answer from those listed.

1 question

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

Remember Me in Action, Part 1
Remember Me in Action, Part 2
Section 6: Need to Connect
Introduction to Need to Connect
Emotion and Memory
Word Choice
3 questions

For each statement, choose which strategy is being used.

1 question

Which functions does the amygdala serve?

Need to Connect in Action, Part 1
Need to Connect in Action, Part 2
Section 7: Closing
Strategy Summary

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Instructor Biography

Dr. Patricia Scott, 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.

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