Hopefully you've never experienced the feeling, but for most of us who have given a presentation, we've had at least one moment where we could feel the audience's attention slipping through our fingers. So what can we do when this happens? (And no, bursting out into song doesn't work… I can tell you that for sure.)
We don't have hurry to the end, or pack it in when we start losing the audience's attention. There are things we can do to bring them back under our spell. The Eloquent Woman blog has some pretty good tips for us. And even though they are for presenting in person, they can be used in our conference calls as well.
Get Out Into the Audience – All right, so we can't do this literally, but the Eloquent Woman does have a point. Once the audience has mentally put us in a box, they pay attention quick when we step out of it, and walk around the room. We can do the same with our webcams. After fifteen minutes of our head and shoulders, why not tilt the webcam, stand up and step back, showing our full body while we talk. It's different, more dynamic, and will wake a few participants up.
Gesture – Again, another tip best used on a video conference, gestures help focus our body language to fully support what we're saying. And again, a gesture here or there will help break up the monotony of just our heads talking. Of course, we need to stay aware of what can and can't be seen on screen, and we should remember to keep movements a little slower and smoother than normal to avoid blurry or choppy video.
Get the Audience Involved – Finally, something that's perfect for a web conference. We can talk about our chosen subject matter for hours, but we should never forget the point of our presentation is to educate the participants. At random times, it's good to stop and ask questions. We can ask specific people—waking up all the others—or ask the group in a poll. A versatile part of a web conference is the chat feature. Encourage people often to type in their comments or questions so you can stop to give the answer, or work it in on the fly.
How do you regain your participants flagging attention? Leave a comment and let us know. Also tell us if random singing has ever worked for you or anyone you know. (I'm telling you, it doesn't!)