When I sit in conferences, workshops, or church services, I watch the audience as much as I watch the speaker. With a powerful and compelling speaker, the audience is riveted. They take notes, nod their heads in agreement, and all eyes are glued to the stage. But with a poor speaker, the audience wanders. They start pulling out mobile devices – not to make notes, but to check their email. They start whispering to their neighbor. They don’t nod their heads in agreement, they nod off to sleep.
The problem is, bad speakers never notice. They go right on with their boring speech and never see that the audience has mentally left the room.
Never be so arrogant as a speaker to think that the importance of your message outweighs the audience’s interest. Those speakers plod along never giving a thought to just how excruciatingly painful it is for the audience. As a speaker, it’s your job to engage them, and if they’re not interested, something is wrong.
One opera singer said it well: “Be sure and stop singing before the audience has stopped listening.”
How you deliver a message is just as important as the message you deliver. Because ultimately, no matter how great that message may be, if no one’s paying attention, you’ve failed.