Watched an interaction at a meeting today that was really quite humorous.  A person with laptop in tow was being asked direct questions by another person.  One question sparked a lightbulb that only Google could answer.  So laptop popped open and attention was turned to its display.  Party #2 with questions to ask seemed taken aback by the attention that had been transferred from her and was now focused on the computer.  The guy reading the web made the comment, “Go ahead and talk to me, I’m listening.  I’m just going to look this up.”  He never so much as looked up, while he was looking up.The response from the other person in the conversational was predictable.  Her posture noticeably changed.  She was much less animated.  Why bother, after all, when your audience isn’t even looking at you.  And her countenance said she didn’t feel very important.  But since she had been told point blank to keep talking, she pressed on, clearly not confident her message was being received.  And it wasn’t.When an audience can not or will not listen, it doesn’t do much good to press on with information. A simple, “I’ll wait” may be a better response.  We all face mind-share competition in getting our message out.  My kids can find most anything to avoid having to look me in the eye and listen to me, but I demand it before I press on with an important point.  And we should demand (or rather, offer) the same.  If they aren’t going to receive the message, we’re not doing them a favor in attempting to deliver it.And if the attention is our fault as the presenter… well, that’s our fault, and we get what we deserve.  After all, Rule #1…

Don’t deliver material to an audience that won’t receive the message.

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