Who cares what you have to say? Does your audience? While coaching an executive last week, this issue arose. He felt that his audience didn’t care about the material he was presenting, which in turn impacted the way he was presenting it. It’s a vicious cycle. As communicators, we seek to engage our listeners. But sometimes (or even often times) we perceive apathy or disinterest from our audience. Herein lies the challenge for all communicators. We look for attentive eyes, nodding heads, welcoming smiles, and undistracted behaviors to clue us in on whether or not we’re connecting with our audience. Unfortunately, there are many times we don’t find what we’re looking for.
Audience challenges abound: Apathy, disinterest, distractions. Bert wrote about distractions emerging in social media, specifically regarding the use of backchannels (here on Twitter, and here on Chris Brogan’s approach to Backnoise). In both of these posts (as in all obstacles interfering with engaging your listeners) is a fundamental truth – the communicator is responsible for the communications experience. When you present your message to an audience, you are the conductor. You lead. It’s your job to create the environment in which participants are most likely to listen, engage and absorb. You provoke connection. You motivate your audience to care. Your job doesn’t change when an audience is unresponsive, distracted or uninterested.
Who cares about your message? You do! And it’s your responsibility to inspire your listeners to join you. Don’t let disinterest or distraction deter you from your job, rather, take charge of your communications experience. When you lead your listeners with confident communication skills, authentic enthusiasm and infectious energy, you can convert apathy into action.
Photo credit: AuntieMabel