My hope is that no instructor or presenter would EVER need to know how to get attention back!
That’s because (and I hate to break this to you in an article like this) if you have lost the attention of a student, trainee, or audience member, then it’s because either YOU or THAT PERSON has caused it to happen.
There are no other possibilities.
Was it you?
Be honest here. Did you do something that caused your audience to stop listening to you? If you aren’t sure, you need to check out this blog post. If you think it WAS you, that article will help you figure out EXACTLY what you may have done to cause that to happen.
If you’re still reading, that must mean two things: Your listeners aren’t paying attention, AND it’s definitely not you causing the problem. Hmm…you’ve got a “Distracted Inefficient” on your hands.
A “distracted inefficient” is a challenging individual that does activities unrelated to your presentation (i.e. checking email, posting on Facebook, etc.) throughout the class, regardless of how capable you are at engaging the class.
You should know that the distracted inefficient is just one of several types of what I call “Challenging Trainees”.
To learn how to handle these students or trainees, take tour of my Serenity Program. It has all of strategies you need to handle any challenging trainee. You will learn to deal with gripers, complainers, know-it-alls, talk hogs, resenters, hecklers, experts, quiet types, and last but not least, the distracted inefficient.
Now, if you’re still with me, that means that for whatever reason, one or more of the people in your room are no longer paying attention, and you want to know what to do about it. I’m going to give you my THREE FAVORITE TIPS TO WIN THEIR ATTENTION BACK, so you can get back to teaching and presenting.
Here we go…
How to Get the Attention Back if it’s Lost
Before you read my tips, there’s something you should know. To maximize the power of these tips, you must execute them with precise body language and appropriate tone. I will give you more on that later.
- TIP #1 – REFER TO THE HOOK:
When people aren’t paying attention, chances are they don’t know why they need to learn the topic or they don’t feel that it is particularly valuable or applicable to them. You need to remind them why they should care about the content of the class.
Do it like this: Write out a “Hook” for your class as though it were an advertisement for why they absolutely must have the information you are teaching. Post it somewhere that is visible to everyone, and keep it there throughout the entire class. This can be done with an oversize sticky note, power point, or large laminated piece of paper.
THEN…when you are teaching something that is bound to cause trainees to lose attention, such as learning objectives that don’t SEEM to have immediate value for them, you can physically show them the hook. It will remind them of how and why the material will be useful to them in their jobs or their roles.
- TIP #2 – ASK ENGAGING QUESTIONS:
Be careful now. I’m not talking about asking questions that aren’t relevant just for the sake of engagement…those are patronizing and can actually be the reason the attention is lost to begin with. I’m talking about questions with meaning that cause trainees to feel compelled to listen to you because they just have to know the answer to the mystery.
Mystery you say? Every person in your class, if they have any interest in your topic (and they will if you hook them) wants to solve the mystery of what makes you and the topic tick. Trust me…they do. You can take or leave this notion, but if you take it, you’ll find a number of doors open to you.
- TIP #3 – WORK THE ROOM:
When you notice someone not paying attention, you can literally stand right next to them and teach the class from that position. If it is the back of the room causing the issue, you could even teach from the back of the room. This sends a subtle message that you know that they aren’t paying attention, and it’s NOT ok. It also shows them that you will take the necessary measures to ensure that they do pay attention.
You can work any part of the room in which attention has been lost. Continue to move in and out of those spots in a patient, caring way. Do this only temporarily. Move back to the “sweet spot” (the front center position in the room) when everyone is back on board.
Remember, these tips will only work if you execute them with the RIGHT BODY LANGUAGE AND TONE. It’s one thing to know what to say, but you also need to know HOW TO SAY IT, AND EXACTLY WHAT TO DO to be able to execute it to perfection so that it works every time.
If you want to know exactly how to execute these tips with the right body language and tone then you really need to check out my MAVERICK program. You can actually watch me model dozens of PRACTICAL TECHNIQUES to get the attention back from your class. In addition, I will show you specifics on how to keep from losing it in the first place.
You’ll learn everything you need to know to become one of the most elite instructors in the world… the instructor that can teach anybody anything anytime, leave no learner behind, and get even the most challenging students to pay attention and understand what you teach them.
If you want to start with the basics for keeping the attention of your audience, then you’ll want to get the 14-day $1 trial of my Train the Trainer Lab.