How to Engage a Preoccupied Audience

January 7, 2019

When presenting to a crowd, speakers can witnesses a variety of responses and actions. It is tricky to decipher these behaviors, but gaining a better understanding of your audience allows you to respond as a better presenter. Here are three common behaviors of distracted audience members, and how to reconnect them with your message:

 

1. They're on their phones

 This response can often reveal that an audience is bored or preoccupied. As a speaker, observing this should challenge you to up your ante; it is key to remember that your presentation is contending with the alluring call of your audience's devices. Try moving around the room, speaking more loudly, or even stepping down from the stage to better engage your audience.

 

2. They're talking

 An audience's discussion can mean two things: 1. They are either losing interest in your topic,

or 2. They are confused about your content. Use this opportunity to ask if your audience has any questions, concerns, or contributions.

 

3. They're taking notes

 Note-taking is a sign that your audience sees your information as valuable and would like to remember it. Be empathetic to this, and create longer pauses between your points or offer viewers a summary of your presentation at the end of your speech.

Looking for more information on relevant presentation skills? Check out the Dog and Pony Show blog post detailing how to design an effective presentation!

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