Kelly Vandever - Communications for Everyone

The Glazed Over Look

In Presentation Tips on February 16, 2011 at 4:57 pm

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The Glazed Over Look

“Kelly, tell me one thing… How can I avoid getting the glossed over look from my audience?”  That question came from Don, a gentleman I know through a networking group.  Don is in a highly specialized field.  Yet most of the people he works with as clients have no knowledge of his specialty.  “When I talk to a group, their eyes kind of glaze over.  How do I get their attention back?”

What Don wanted when he asked the question were techniques he could use to change up the way he was speaking to catch their attention — using props, changing up his vocal inflection, etc.  What he needed to hear is this.  If you don’t lose them in the first place, you won’t need to get them back.

Two Main Causes of Glazed Over Looks

There are two primary causes of the glazed over look – Jargon-itis and Content Disconnect

Jargon-itis

Don is in a highly competitive field.  His credibility is extremely important to him.  By throwing out jargon while he speaks, he thinks he is impressing his audience with his vast knowledge.  But what he’s doing is spreading Jargon-itis among his audience members.  When a speaker throws out so many industry terms that the audience has no way to follow what he’s saying, of course, they’re going to zone out and get the glazed over looks.

The cure for Jargon-itis

The cure for Jargon-itis lies with Don as the carrier.  He needs to remember what it’s like to not know all that he knows.  He needs to provide the information in terms his audience can understand.  And he needs to do that while avoiding the second primary cause of the glazed over look…

Content Disconnect

Don loves his field.  He is proud of his expertise.  Don can talk for hours about his field and his experience.  The problem is Don’s audience doesn’t care about Don, his field or his expertise.  They care about themselves.  When Don spends his time talking about himself and what he can do, it doesn’t take long for the audience to get the glazed over look.

Content Connect

Don can definitely help his clients with their problems.  But Don needs to talk about their problems.  He needs to provide them with valuable information that will tell them how they can solve their problems –and here’s the key part – regardless of whether or not they ever hire Don.

If Don is talking about something the audience cares about relative to their lives or their businesses, then not only will the glazed over looks go away, the audience will pick up a pencil and start taking notes!  Will some of those people try to do the work themselves?  Probably.  But for those that have the budget, which version of Don’s audience do you think would be more likely to hire Don?  The ones who have the glazed over looks on their faces because they don’t understand the jargon and could care less about Don and his expertise?  Or the ones who are taking notes and appreciate that Don is explaining his field in a way that they can understand?  Who would you want to work with more.

Ironically, by talking in terms that people can understand about things people care about, Don will get more business when he addresses his audience than he would if he talked about how great he is and tries to dazzle his audience with his expertise.

Engage, Don’t Glaze

Eliminating the glazed over look doesn’t need to rely on gimmicks and techniques.  Engage people by giving them information they value in a way that they can understand and they will listen.

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