[Image by Bartek of Pixabay]

As public speakers, most of us realize the detriment of our audience using devices (e.g., cell phone).  It’s particularly problematic when we’re delivering a presentation, whether it’s in-person, virtual, or hybrid.  There are multiple options worthy of your consideration which are:

  1. Send an email notification to attendees in advance of the presentation. Ask attendees to not have their cell phones/smart phones on while the speaker is addressing the group.
  2. Set up the ground rules at the outset of your presentation.  This may work if someone other than the speaker (such as the introducer, event sponsor, etc.) takes on this role and sets up the ground rules using a polite approach.
  3. Request that all attendees mute their cell phones so as not to distract the speaker or audience members.
  4. Use a hashtag and make it known to the audience if they wish to tell others about the presentation.
  5.  Ask attendees to submit their questions and their comments via their phone, using the chat option.
  6. Have real time polls for the audience so they may vote using their phone.
  7. Let attendees access and view any slides you use via their phone.
  8. Think about a short break so participants can stretch, check e-mails or voicemail, as needed.
  9. Change your approach, that is move around the room or consider staging where you move to a particular location to emphasize a particular point you’re making.
  10. Create engaging and interactive activities.  In this way you break up your presentation as well as provide an opportunity to let a listener’s voice be heard. That’s invaluable.

Reality is that devices aren’t going away.  Given that they’re here to stay, it behooves speakers to make their presentations as compelling as possible.  Additionally, it helps to realize that it’s unlikely that attendees will listen to everything they’re hearing. They may have a personal or professional emergency they feel the need to check in on, be telling others what a terrific point they just learned, be taking notes or have what they think is a valid reason for using their cell phone or device.

If you’d like assistance in considering divisive devices that you’re concerned about, please let me know.  You may call (518-664-6004), email ([email protected]) or schedule a virtual meeting.  Happy to help!