Reason 1 - A well-run program communicates appreciation for your guests
In our busy world, people are constantly making decisions about how they will spend their time. With work, family commitments, church and friends, most people carefully consider the best use for their free hours. Being at your event often requires a great deal of coordination. Sitters have to be lined up, work has to end early and guests have to allow for travel to a venue, often fighting rush hour traffic. Your guests have honored you with their presence, and they likely will invest in your ministry, so you want to be sensitive to their time by keeping the program within the two hours and fifteen-minute window. Don’t lose their trust by going over your stated time.
Reason 2 - People have limited attention spans
Unfortunately, a goldfish has a greater attention span than your guests. Research shows that the average adult has an attention span of eight seconds. Yes, you read that right – eight seconds. That means even though you have exciting content, your guests will be challenged to remain engaged. Keeping the program crisp and within the suggested time acknowledges the reality of limited attention spans.
Reason 3 - The most important elements of your program are highlighted
In other words, your main speaker and students testimonies---the two parts of a Vision Dinner that have the greatest tendency to run long---receive the focus they really need and you want. Otherwise, negative emotions can rise in your guests, clouding the message you want them to hear. (Also, remember the time cards for up-front participants, as well as keeping good communication with the venue staff to ensure they’re running on time.) As a result of staying on schedule, your guests are often in a better mindset to be motivated toward the cause of partnering with you and the mission of advancing the gospel.
Reason 4 - Long programs mean loss of money
If you’re running on schedule, you’re extremely likely to still have all your guests in the room when it’s time for them to fill out the commitment cards. Why do we make this point? It’s because we’ve seen the flip side, where $1,000 is lost for every minute the program runs over time. So running five minutes late usually means a loss of $5,000. Crazy, right? But unfortunately it has proven true time and time again. Some of that figure includes gifts that won't be given next year because the guest doesn't trust you enough to attend again.
We've seen that you will lose $1,000 for every minute your program runs over
As a real example (not a hypothetical), there was a dinner running 15 minutes behind schedule. When the person doing the Ministry Appeal prayed to start the commitment time, after saying “Amen”, one-third of the room stood up to leave. In other words, one-third of the guests couldn’t give because the program ran too late. We’re not trying to sound harsh, but in that instance, a lot of money walked out the door.
Reason 5 - You’ll have a much better opportunity after the program ends to mingle with guests
If all has gone well, they will have already heard what God is doing through you and your ministry’s efforts to make Christ known in your scope and beyond. And now you’ve ended leaving most of them wanting more, even if it’s just a little bit more. You have the chance at this point to interact with them about the things they heard, what they enjoyed about the evening, and anything else that may happen to come up.