Frequently, there are non-presenters who are part of the “presentation”.  Perhaps it’s someone from the sales team who isn’t speaking at that particular moment.  Or maybe it’s the wait staff at a conference that has catering.  Or perhaps it’s the sound crew that turns a knob once during the presentation (as I saw today).

The presenter is standing at right.  Audience members seated in front of me.  Sound guy — browsing on his Blackberry — to the left.

An isolation shot of our intrepid sound man is included below.  He did this for close to an hour.  Problem, of course, is that it was in plain sight of every person in the audience.  If he can’t pay attention, why should they? 

This particular soul was a contract employee of the rather large conference.  he has nothing to do with the content of the presentation and is so far removed from the conference he likely couldn’t care less if the presentation was a success or not.  But the presenter pays the price.

A worse case I witnessed was a senior sales guy out with a junior sale guy and the technical presenter (pre-sales support engineer).  The senior guy opens with the intro, hands off the junior guy and demo geek, and proceeds to go sit down, lean against the wall and… fall asleep.  Just what message do you think that sent?

Control all public-facing people in your presentation to focus attention on you/your message.

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