After 23 years teaching high school, I’m still not immune to disinterested and dissatisfied attendee’s expressions. As I begin a training for 15 company managers, Jerri’s expression says, “I don’t want to be here and I’m pissed that I am.”
You’ve seen them, attending your meeting, speech or participating in your training: yawning, looking at their watch, checking text messages or slumped down in their chair with arms crossed. If you are like me, they become a beckon of this message: “I’m failing.”
Hold on…..There’s more to the story.
Before the next session, I spoke with Brad who hired me. I asked what comments he heard from attendees. He said Jerri stopped his office and spoke very highly of the training.
Jerri’s non-verbal communication triggered my insecurity turning my attention from others to myself. Let’s look at ways to recalibrate from self-focus back to “other” focus.
Correct: Don’t assume your immediate trigger is the real story. Try to correct your assumed perception and give those who demonstrate disinterest the space and time to warm up to you.
Calm: As you are speaking or leading, settle your nervousness by taking some longer breathes and relax your body. Releasing 2% of your tension can make a difference.
Connect: Jerri was one of 15 attendees. Focus your attention to everyone in room. Notice interest, attention, and eye contact from others who are present.
Bonus Tip: Keep this phrase ever present:
There’s always more to the story.