Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Dead Air?

Have you ever heard a presentation that sounds as if it were prepared by a radio broadcaster? Run-on sentences, no pauses, little time to digest the contents.

Keep in mind that you have already processed your information. You are speaking because you probably know more about the topic than your audience. Avoid the temptation to dump everything you know so fast that people feel overwhelmed. Your audience may be hearing your information for the first time. They will welcome a little extra time to digest it.

Allow three seconds of silence after making an important point or when asking a question, even if the question is intended to be rhetorical. Good attention management includes knowing when to place the attention on your audience. Allow people some time to reflect on what your information means to them.

1 comment:

Terry Gault said...

You are right Mark: presenters often try to rush through their material as quickly as possible and in doing so alienate their audience.

Silence is powerful in presentations!

Silence is a common occurrence in genuine dialogue. One of our strongest allies in being mentally present is to hold our silence longer than is comfortable.

Our natural discomfort with silence sometimes causes us to interrupt a silence in the conversation too soon. Frequently, before someone embraces a new perspective we are urging, they will go silent. They are doing the deep thinking required before they open to new perspectives. To interrupt this important exploration undercuts our ability to influence.

I always suggest:

1. Practice holding silence longer. Allow your “inner-observer” to
monitor your nervousness, “Shouldn’t I be saying something?”
2. Develop deeper silences within yourself so that you can hear
through the noise to find the signal of what others really mean.
3. See the silence of your conversation not as dead silence, not as
paralyzed silence, but as silence teeming with possibility.

Thanks for the post!