I was once giving a presentation and half way through, one person got up, went into the corner and hopped onto a conference call. Fortunately for him, there were no heavy objects nearby.
It is up to you to engage your audience. Here's what I've found to be effective:
- Never present in the front, always sit with your audience. That way you can quickly pick up if they are getting bored or have a question.
- Never have more than 10 words on a slide. This forces you to know your material very well and engage in a discussion with your audience.
- Always tell a story. I think of them as the handles on the suitcase of your idea. Stories have many more connection points than a slide full of text.
- Toss half of your slides. Well, not really toss, but put them at the back of the presentation to answer questions.
Good presentations revolve around conversations that are relevant and of interest to your audience. And engaged people don't check their email.