Have you noticed how some people during a pitch or while listening to a speech will be checking their iPhone (or whatever), instead of giving their undivided attention to the one talking? I’ll bet you’ve never done that, right? Careful, your nose is growing.


When I was in-house, I attended management meetings where partners did that to each other. However, the problem may not be rudeness, but rather boredom. And, if speakers or presenters are offended, it is possible they are not looking at the source of the problem. Themselves.


When making a presentation, one has an obligation to make it short, sweet and to the point. S/he should detail what they will cover and it better be interesting. Otherwise, the listeners will tune out and wish they were somewhere else.


When it comes to speeches, Joey Asher has an article that was published in the Fulton County Daily Report and on Law.com’s Small Firm Business that makes a similar point. He reminds us that audiences vote with their attention – and this was true long before the age of Blackberrys. 


So, what’s a speaker to do? Asher’s suggestions apply to both situations:

  • Give those attending a strong “reason to pay attention” (i.e., what the benefit to them will be);
  • Provide those attending a “clear road map” of what the topic or agenda will cover;
  • Make the presentation interactive by engaging those attending (a pop quiz might help); and
  • Show passion, or at least excitement, about your subject.

If you follow those simple rules, the chances are you’ll see business development efforts bear riper fruit, and a whole lot less inattention. People will listen, and possibly even put their Blackberry on silent mode.