Tips for dealing with multi-tasking teleconference listeners

Tips for dealing with multi-tasking teleconference listeners - Janice Haywood

Tips for dealing with multi-tasking teleconference listeners

Have you been dealing with multi-tasking listeners?

You’re speaking on a teleconference or webinar and you just know that there isn’t full attention at the other end, that some of your audience are multitasking aagghh! How dare they?

Why do people do that? (Yes, I know it’s a very naive question). But the truth is that when people know we can’t see them on a conference call, they are highly tempted to multitask and they do, with the majority of people checking email whilst they are supposed to be listening to you.

Here are some tips to help you deal with those dreaded multitaskers.

  1. Break content into small sections: Make sure your content sections are as tight and succinct as possible. Move through points quickly and if you are using slides, make sure you change them about every 20 seconds.
  2. Enjoy your own material: Enthusiasm is contageous and in teleconferencing this enthusiasam can only be transmitted through your voice, so make sure you vary the rythm and tone of your voice as much as possible.
  3. Smile: Believe it or not, your smile will be reflected in your tone. And laugh where appropriate as this will encourage your audience to laugh also.
  4. Vary the voices: It’s a great idea to include other people in your presentation/call as this will engage your remote audience a lot more. You could at some point, treat your presentation like a morning show, where you banter and exchange opinions with a co-host.
  5. Make your presentation/webinar interactive: To keep your audience engaged, the more they participate, the better. Including short activities is essential. You could ask them to do some online research for example and post findings/observations in the chat window. Or you could get them to participate in an online survey (personally I like mentimeter), where the results are published in real time.
  6. Use strategically placed pauses: When audiences tune out from remote presenters, the talking is like a background noise, or what we call ‘white noise’. If you pause before important points, this will break the white noise and it will catch the listeners’s attention.
  7. Have pictures of your listeners: If you have to give a presentation or remote training session to people you know and you have access to photos of their faces, stick their faces to the top of your computer screen so you can actually ‘see’ your audience while you are speaking. You will feel as though you are nearer to them which is help you to speak with a much warmer energy.

So there you go, a few ideas for your next remote presentation to help any prospective multitaskers from getting too distracted, and at the same time to help you maintain your enthusiasm and energy.


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My mission is to help employees in multinational companies learn the skills and techniques they need to give outstanding presentations in English and receive the visibility and recognition they deserve.

feel confident and engage with your audience Janice Haywood