Today’s fast-paced business environment requires leaders who can create impact and influence others with sound communication practices. Stacey Hanke has trained over 15,000 executives to influence, persuade, sell, or simply effectively communicate face-to-face with a clear message. Below, Stacey shares her advice to capture the attention of your audience, even when you’re competing with their cellphone.
Do you find yourself competing with technical gadgets? When you and your message are not interesting or when you’re not directly connecting with your audience, you in effect give your listeners “permission” to check their devices.
If people are texting, checking emails or otherwise involved with their electronic devices while you’re talking, it’s a sure sign that they are disengaged. If your listeners aren’t engaged, they won’t hear your message; and if they don’t hear your message, the chances of you influencing them to take action are slim.
Your natural response to this situation might be to:
- Ignore the behavior, assuming it is part of the culture;
- Talk faster and louder, hoping the change will draw listeners’ attention back to you (yet in reality causing them to become even more disengaged);
- Call out the offenders, making everyone feel as though they are back in grade school.
To gain more influence:
- Pause. The silence will grab the offenders’ attention and bring it back to you and your message.
- Look individuals in the eye. When speaking, look directly at an individual for a complete sentence or thought, something most presenters don’t do. Your audience will immediately sense that you are connecting with them. They also will be less likely to get sucked into their technical gadgets when they know you will catch them not paying attention.
- Take control. State at the beginning with confidence, “In order to honor everyone’s time and receive the value you expect from our time together, please close and silence your phones, tablets and laptops. This will also allow us to end on time.”
- Be interesting. Boring communicators don’t grab and keep their listeners’ attention. Listeners zone out when you read from your slides, especially when they are filled to capacity with charts, graphs and unreadable fonts. No one wants to be read to. Make a real connection with your listeners by communicating with passion and authenticity