Of course there could be a valid and reasonable explanation: they realised they were in the wrong presentation, they needed the loo, they had just received an urgent phone call because their budgie had fallen in the water bowl…but really , could it be that you…were boring them to death?
Let me tell you why I didn’t leave.
I didn’t leave because, rather like Barry Norman ( for those of you younger than 40, he used to present the TV programme Film84 etc reviewing the latest releases!), I never want people to say ‘ooh, it got so much better by the end and you really missed out on the golden nugget of information!’
I didn’t leave because I too stand up to speak to groups and I didn’t want to personally deliver that damning blow ( call me nice why don’t you?)
I didn’t leave because I am British and one doesn’t do that sort of thing, right?
I didn’t leave because I was sitting on the front row and it felt embarrassing to publicly display my unhappiness (especially because people know my area of specialism ie presenting skills)
But really, you need to know that even when people stay in your presentation, they might not always be engaged.
Many people will put up with the most appalling discomfort because they are embarrassed, too polite, wonder if it is just them or feel they have to show a public face. Lots of people can paint a smile on their face, nod and generally look like they are paying attention when in reality they have mentally left the room and are involved in all sorts of other activities which have nothing to do with your presentation.
So here are some tips:
- Learn how to design a presentation that has a clear message and has built into it an engaging structure
- Practice out loud and ask yourself ( or a trusted someone) if your style of delivery will speak with people ( not at them) through pauses, pace and energy
- Ask for feedback…please. It is the only way you can be confident that you can consistently repeat your strengths. And the only way you will know what to work on next time.
- Build a rapport with the audience. Learn how to get in touch with them, read them and respond to them. That way you can head them off at the door as it were – because you are in tune with their listening patterns.
Audiences should never be passive in your presentations. Make them work hard. Which means you have to build in rapport and engagement throughout.
If you have questions you would like to ask me about the content of this blog, then call me on 07946604859 or email. And make sure you sign up for Speech Bubbles, weekly inspiration for your presentations delivered straight to your inbox.
Look forward to hearing from you.