Are You Creating Distractions that are Stealing Your Thunder?

When you are part of an audience it’s easy to become distracted from the presenter’s message when they have annoying repetitious habits.  Often the presenter isn’t conscious of personal idiosyncrasies that cause the audience to lose focus and mentally wander.  Some mannerisms are nervous habits and others are personal quirks that developed from an early age.

There are several dangers associated with being unaware of these traits.  Your audience can completely miss the message that you are attempting to convey.  They may become so captured by the distraction that they become mesmerized or completely bored.  A disconnect occurs, interrupting the flow of information and ultimately sidetracking your presentation.

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You can’t normally detect your own bad habits.  It’s difficult to see the forest for the trees.  The first step to elevating your effectiveness as a presenter is being aware of what the viewers are seeing.  This is a challenge because you aren’t usually aware of your own irritating presentation habits.  If you were, then you would of eliminated them, wouldn’t you?

Are any of these behaviors stealing your thunder?

  • Scratching
  • Fidgeting
  • Burping
  • Running your fingers through your hair
  • Rubbing or pulling your nose or ears
  • Stroking your chin
  • Tapping your fingers
  • Clicking or tapping a pen
  • Adjusting or pushing your glasses up
  • Playing with facial hair
  • Repetitive use of the same word or phrase
  • Clearing your throat
  • Sniffling
  • Apologizing
  • Twirling or brushing your hair with your fingers or flipping your head to get the hair out of your face
  • Mesmerizing movement or motion that has a hypnotic effect – Dancing the box step
  • Adjusting your clothes – Tucking in your shirt, pulling up your pants or skirt

Chances are you probably know someone or personally struggle with one or several of these tendencies yourself.  You can get away with most of these once or twice during a presentation but three times or more and they can become very distracting.  The audience may not even be conscious of what exactly it is that’s irritating them, they just know that they are losing interest and they’ve seen or heard enough.

Video taping your presentation definitely increases your conscious awareness of irksome habits.  Practicing presentations at your Toastmasters Club will help you increase your confidence while doing away with unnecessary practices.  Learning new presentation techniques and how to effectively use props or other tools will keep your hands and thoughts busy which helps you to focus on methods that make your presentations more entertaining, interesting and captivating.

“Earthquakes and hurricanes get all the publicity, but termites do more damage than both combined every year.” – Zig Ziglar

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