How to keep the undivided attention of your audience

Peter Ryckaert

Published by Peter Ryckaert on April 26, 2018

All of us know very well that attention has become extremely scarce in today’s world of information overload. It’s harder than ever to get the undivided attention of your audience when giving a presentation – let alone keep audience attention. All the more reason to make room for interaction and to minimize distraction if you want your next presentation to be more engaging and successful.

Make room for interaction & minimize distraction to manage the attention of your audience

People will simply be more attentive if they know they are expected to interact with you. If you want your audience to interact, start by telling them that’s what you want them to do. Most people are used to being talked to during a presentation, rather than being asked to share their thoughts. Opening your presentation with a question or with an invitation to share feedback will turn that fixed idea on its head.

But don’t stop there, and don’t hesitate to question other fixed ideas. Get rid of handouts during your presentation, for example, if you don’t want to lose the attention of your audience. Or consider using crowdbeamer. Increased interactivity and less distraction are among the highest-ranking benefits reported by crowdbeamer customers so far.

Make room for interaction: facilitate an audience-centric setup

One of our customers, SalesBridge, is using crowdbeamer during training sessions and workshops. Thanks to crowdbeamer, the SalesBridge trainer no longer needs a projector screen. Instead, information is streamed directly to the tablets and laptops of all training participants. That makes it possible to have everybody seated around the table, eyes facing each other. As the SalesBridge trainer sits amidst the training participants, everybody gets into the heart of the presentation. There is no risk of anybody getting cold feet.

Using crowdbeamer, the SalesBridge trainer sits amidst the training participants. Getting everybody into the heart of the presentation, it’s easy to keep the undivided attention of all participants

Using crowdbeamer, the SalesBridge trainer sits amidst the training participants. Getting everybody into the heart of the presentation, it’s easy to keep the undivided attention of all participants

 

Talking with Karl Odent, SalesBridge co-founder, he confirmed to me that “there are entirely different group dynamics in this setup, with real interaction and dialogue between the trainer and the audience. And from the very beginning, it was clear that the use of tablets and laptops does not distract our audience in the least. That is because crowdbeamer facilitates an audience-centric setup during our training sessions. The personal devices become real productivity tools that get us the undivided attention of all participants.” 

Minimize distraction: get rid of handouts

We are getting comparable feedback from another crowdbeamer customer To The Point At Work. To The Point At Work is using crowdbeamer to manage audience attention more effectively during courses where teams learn how to translate complex information into crisp impactful presentations.

Managing Director Edouard Gruwez told me that “there is one question that consistently comes back during every course: ’Will we get a copy of the slides?’ Personally, I find the question fascinating because it illustrates an inherent conflict that every presenter struggles with. In the minds of most business people, the slides ‘are’ the content. But if all information is on the screen and in the handouts, the attention of your audience is all over the place.”

 

Making handouts available during a presentation usually doesn’t affect audience attention positively. Crowdbeamer allows the audience to decide on the spot what information is relevant and store it for future use.

 

According to Edouard Gruwez, “making handouts available during a presentation usually doesn’t affect audience attention positively. People half listen and half read handouts, missing the essential points. Handing out the slides afterward isn’t much better: most handouts are never looked at because they are way too bulky. Therefore, crowdbeamer offers a really good solution. It allows the audience to decide on the spot what information is relevant and store that information for future use.”

SalesBridge co-founder Karl Odent concurs. “Workshop or training participants using the crowdbeamer app are no longer stuck with a pile of handouts that they have no use for afterward. On the contrary, they can selectively take screenshots of what they find most relevant for themselves. And they can add their notes –  building usable digital handouts on the spot.”

Keep audience attention on what’s relevant: use crowdbeamer

“Selectively taking screenshots has far more benefits for the audience than distributing lengthy handouts,” Edouard Gruwez confirms. “The reason is straightforward: people only use information if it is relevant to them. Crowdbeamer makes it easy for everybody in the audience to keep listening and remain focused on the presenter’s message.”

And what about potential distractions related to the use of tablets and laptops by the audience? After all, doesn’t research frequently report increased distraction among students? It does, but the same research also states that distractions are all related to the use of laptops and tablets for non-course related tasks: checking email, instant messaging, watching movies and surfing the web.

Turn the tablets and laptops of your audience into real productivity tools

Crowdbeamer eliminates such distractions altogether. That’s because crowdbeamer turns the tablets and laptops of your audience into real productivity tools. The tablets and laptops provide your audience with direct access to your presentation content. That enables everybody to engage with your content and to remain focused on your message. Crowdbeamer helps you to make room for interaction and to minimize distraction. And it will get you the undivided attention of your audience during your next presentation.

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