Whether it is at work or school, chances are that you will get an opportunity to make a presentation. This is where you receive a topic and a request to tell others about it. As it were, people get distracted. They start showing signs of not paying attention.
Technology has made it even worse. As you are busy explaining serious concepts, it can be very discouraging to see people busy texting or scrolling on their phones. Others could be deeply engrossed in their tablets. It can really break your heart.
With electronic gadgets having become part of daily life, you do not expect this fascination to stop any time soon. On numerous occasions, college authorities and other conference organizers have tried to ban the use of cell phones in conference halls. However, this has not been a success.
Fortunately, experienced public speakers have learnt of ways to deal with annoying distractions from audiences. Instead of forcing your audience to listen, a better approach would be to engage them.
Here is how this works:
Do not be dictatorial
Normally, people are used to conference speaker requesting them to switch off their cell phones. It is common sense for anyone attending a conference to know that a loud ringtone can be annoying to others. Instead of telling your audience what they should not do, take the opposite direction.
You could let your guard down. Tell them to go ahead and keep their phones on. Let them know that they can post comments on social media or even text their friends. This helps set the stage for an informal setting and your audience will pay attention.
Encourage listeners to participate
People tend to take informative topics seriously. For example, conferences on how to get rich, start a business, succeed at work and so on usually have good attendance. There is not a single person out there who does not want to learn how to get solutions.
Involving an audience keeps them engaged and attentive. If you notice that the audience is getting distracted, invite them to ask questions or share their views. Take advantage of their distraction and turn it to your advantage.
People find it hard to concentrate when they are not comfortable. The conference room’s settings should be right. This includes room temperature and lighting conditions. Audiences cannot pay attention when seated on broken seats. Request the organizers to ensure that they deal with all these settings.
On the other hand, prepare your presentations in such as way that you leave time for short breaks. Otherwise, you will see a lot of movement in and out of the hall. Once time for a scheduled break arrives, stop right there and let the master of ceremonies announce what takes place next.
Another important thing you should avoid is obstructing the audience from seeing what you have projected on a screen. Also, avoid speaking in a monotone. Vary your voice especially when you are stressing some points. Finally, practice your presentation beforehand. You will feel at ease during its delivery.