How to Maximize Audience Attention (When Everyone's Glued to Their Phones)


With the average adult touching their phone around 2,617 times a day*, it’s only a matter of time before something distracts them from your presentation.

So what can you do? If you can’t fight them, join them. Here are a couple of ways to turn a distracted audience into an engaged one:

Live Polling & Results Display

If you’ve ever stood in front of a room of people, asked a question, and waited helplessly while no one felt confident enough to answer, your solution is live polling. Using an event app, you can ask your audience simple questions and give them the power to reply immediately using their phone.

After collecting the data, results can then be streamed in real-time to an on-stage display. This is a great tool for re-capturing your audience’s interest and focus. Live polling allows for active participation and takes the edge off speaking in a crowded room.

Networking & One-on-One Meetings

How often have you walked away from an event wondering what connections you could have made had you talked to everyone in the room? Using the event app as a meeting facilitator, attendees can now find out exactly who is in the audience, send invites for meetings, or be matched up with others with similar interests (ATTN entrepreneurs: this is an easy way to get ahold of that investor who’s been hard to reach). Event apps leave no opportunity unrecognized and allow audience members to engage both with one another as well as with speakers.

Guide your audience to action

Before heading off the stage and leaving your audience to digest your presentation, make sure you’re giving them the right tools to take action. Use your mobile events app to share your contact information and social media handles, include any presentation decks, and send through a quick survey to gather feedback after your talk.

If possible, ask the event organizer ahead of time to have your session recorded and include a link to the session in your email. This way, you can ensure a lasting impact on your audience.

Once you tap into these new forms of audience engagement, you will become a more compelling speaker, achieve a greater event ROI, and increase overall attendee satisfaction. Make sure you turn this generation's reliance on mobile devices into the next level of audience engagement.

For more on audience engagement via mobile device, read more here and here.

*Article published on NetworkWorld, IDG.


5 Speaker Fails You Need to Avoid


As the role of thought leadership continues to gain importance in generating new business opportunities, speaking engagements are becoming more essential to building a brand. The problem? The demand for speakers is greater than ever - even with the number of events, webinars, podcasts, etc. on the rise.

In other words, every opportunity is equally as important in establishing your speaking cred. If your audience isn’t engaged, you’re failing them and also limiting your scope for future opportunities.

Here is a list of the top five most common fails that you, as a speaker, need to avoid:

1. Misreading or not recognizing interest - Don’t fret if you only see the tops of people’s heads. “Old school” speakers might tell you to measure interest by the number of people who are making eye contact with you. However, in this digital age, keep in mind that your most engaged audience members are rapidly tweeting out your content as you speak. (So don’t ask people to turn off their phones, and try to create “tweetable” quotes!)

2. Not being involved in conversation on social media - Set yourself apart by taking part in the conversations occurring online and networking with other attendees ahead of time. This can help cultivate interest and drive attendance at your panel or session - especially important for those events that have concurrent sessions.

3. Reading PowerPoint slides or notes verbatim - Don’t do it. As digital storyteller Christina Green states, “If you don’t know the topic well enough to discuss it without reading, you’re probably not the best person to lead the discussion.” #Truth

4. Not knowing your audience - Sure, you can up-cycle parts of your old presentations. Since every audience has different needs and concerns, you should still be personalizing the content for each audience. Make sure what you have to share is actually applicable; otherwise, you’re wasting their (and your) time.

5. Using too much ‘marketing speak’ - As mentioned above, know your audience - but also know how they speak. Most people want to be spoken to in easily digestible terms, save the small percentage of “C-Suite who are are still quoting management books from the ‘80s.”

There you have it! Take these insights into consideration as you plan your next presentation, and become a better, more conscious and more engaging speaker that people will rave about.