The Ol’ Blackberry Prayer

5 ways to handle smartphone distractions during a speech

By Brad Phillips | Posted: June 13, 2012

I do a lot of public speaking, and am fortunate that people rarely text or stare at their smartphones during my talks. But I do occasionally encounter members of the audience who stare at their smartphones throughout my speech—and many of my presentation training clients often face the same challenge.

Watching an audience member (or, heavens forbid, many audience members) glued to his or her mini-screen throughout your talk can be distracting, discouraging, and even infuriating. On the other hand, it may also be a valuable sign to you as a speaker that you’re boring the audience, necessitating a change in technique.

It can also be a sign that they are interested in your speech—for all you know, they’re taking notes or “live tweeting” your talk.

Here are five things you can do the next time you catch someone using their smartphone throughout your talk:

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