Keep Your Audience Focused on 1 Thing: You

November 3, 2008

We’ve all done it. Been reviewing a handout during a presentation, and missed a punch line that led to a roaring laughter. “What did he say?” you had to ask someone next you.

Your goal as the presenter should be to engage each and every member of your audience, not just a certain percentage, but all of them. And it’s nearly impossible to do that with audience members who are multi-tasking.

Just because you may see some presenters distribute handouts at the start, doesn’t mean it’s a Best Practice. Some may think they are doing their audiences a favor, so the audience doesn’t have to take as many notes.

But here’s a better solution: Tip them off early in the talk by saying: “Not to worry, there will be handouts distributed after the presentation. Therefore, you don’t have to take any notes. So just relax and listen. The handout will include my email, in case you have further questions that aren’t addressed in the handout.”

As this NBC News segment reports regarding the “myth of multi-tasking,” the human brain can only do so much.

 

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