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What to Do If You're Losing Your Audience

Learn what to do if you're losing your audience from media coach TJ Walker in this Howcast public speaking video.


Has it ever happened to you when you're in the audience? Or has that ever happened to you when you're looking at your audience, and you're losing them? What can you do if you're losing your audience? Well first of all, you've got to realize most of the time it's not their fault. It's your fault. If your audience is zoning out, playing with their phone, talking to each other, there's a problem. And it's you. You're not being interesting. So the biggest reason most audience's zone out, is you're up there getting some boring data dump. You're ignoring your audience and you're going through your little PowerPoint delivering data. Boring.

So if you're losing your audience, you've got to stop and you've got to regroup. Maybe you ask a question of an audience. Maybe you tell a story that relates to someone in the audience. Maybe you walk around to create variety. But you do need to pay attention to your audience. This presentation is about your audience. It's not about you.

So if you just go through your presentation and ignore them as if nothing happened, what good is it? What have you really accomplished? So you've got to engage your audience. Sometimes you just got to stop and ask a question of the audience and figure out how can you retool what you've got to be more interesting and relevant to them.

Sometimes you're in a subject area and you realize, uh-oh, I'm going too long on this subject. They're not interested. I'm going to have to edit that out and go to the next part of my presentation. You're going to have to do an edit on your feet.

But do keep one thing in mind. If you're speaking to more than 20 people, you can be the best speaker in the entire world, and there could be someone right on the front row who's falling asleep. It's happened to me. It's happened to Ronald Reagan. It's happened to Bill Clinton. And realize that people have other stuff going on in their life. They may have a newborn child at home and they haven't slept in three days. It's not that your speech is bad.

So don't ignore everyone in the room and just focus on that one person who seems to be out of it, or dozing, or having a bad day. Give them a little attention, but if they're gone, they're gone. Give attention to everyone else in the room. Really focus on your audience members one at a time and you will solve the problem of losing your audience.

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