When I was at dinner last night, I couldn’t help but notice that everywhere I looked, people were on their phones. At one table, I saw a person talking to someone who was staring at his phone during the whole conversation.
With 24/7 access to email, to Facebook, to Twitter, or to whatever other apps might be your phone, distraction is easy to come by. In a recent study published in the New York Times, 89% of people said they’d used their phones during the last social event they attended.
If it’s this hard to stay focused when you’re out with friends, then a boring business meeting doesn’t stand a chance. And the standard “data dump” presentation definitely isn’t going to cut it.
To keep your audience focused on you and not their phones during your next meeting, you need to make two things happen:
1. Keep your content audience-centered. Your message needs to be relevant to your audience. If your content is centered on you and what you need from them, it’s not going to be heard. Ask yourself, “Am I speaking to what the audience can do for me or what I can do to for my audience?”
2. Build a strong emotional connection with your listeners. People want to feel like they can trust who they’re listening to. They want to feel warmth coming from a speaker. Smile. Use body language. Lighten up your face. All of these strategies are simple ways to warm up your tone and build connection and trust.
If you’re serious about building your skill (and keeping people off their phones during your next presentation), then check out our new book, Communicate to Influence where we lay out step-by-step details for creating audience-centered content and building connection.