Monday, February 26, 2007

You Know You Have Lost Your Audience When ...

... they are reading magazines or knitting.

I really can't make this stuff up. I was at a recent conference where I saw one audience member reading magazines during the presentations and one knitting. Obviously the presenter had lost the audience but didn't realize it. Why did they lose the interest of the audience? One presenter used slides with paragraphs that the audience tried to read while he spoke about a related point and finally after 20-30 of these slides they just got too tired of trying to listen while they were reading. Lesson: don't use paragraphs of text, use bullet points or even better use visuals. Another presenter started off her presentation with 10-12 minutes all about her and her background. Lesson: It's not about you, it's about the audience. Critical mistakes like these will cause audiences to move on to something else. Today's business audiences are too busy to sit through boring presentations and will leave - physically or mentally - if they aren't getting what they need. Be clear, Be audience focused, and you will shine at the front of the room.


Blogger Linda Adams said...

A number of years ago, we had a speaker cancel out at the last minute for a journalism class (we had to write an article on the speaker). Someone knew someone and invited a scientist who was going to talk about why aspirin was bad. The scientist clearly didn't understand who his audience was--we were all students 18-20 years old. His entire presentation consisted of scientific jargon and highly technical explanations, as if he were giving the presention to a bunch of experienced scientists. We didn't have anyone knit, but most of the students were completely lost and bored, and one fell asleep. No matter how important you think your subject is, if you can't communicate it effectively to the audience, then your message will never get out.

7:48 AM  

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