Be the audience member to which YOU would want to present

January 25, 2022

Over the past few months, I’ve had the chance to hear a number of presenters in front of audiences both big and small. Some were good, a few were outstanding, but most could use some help from our Wixted & Company training team.

But this piece isn’t about the presenters; it’s about the audiences. And I have to say… I’ve been pretty disappointed.

With a quick check of the room, it’s common to see laptops open, side conversations going on, and phones and phones and phones being used. Imagine how it feels to work really hard on an important presentation, only to see much of your audience not paying attention.

At the risk of sounding like one of your middle school teachers, please stop talking and listen! Unless you’re using your laptop to take notes, close it up and be present. And for the love of Alexander Graham Bell, can we put our phones away?!

In other words, be the audience member to which YOU would want to present.

For starters, check your posture. Are you slouching, with your arms folded across your chest? Or are you sitting up, perhaps taking notes, and looking fully engaged.

What about eye contact? We all know the importance for a presenter to have good eye contact; it builds trust, and it makes your audience feel more included. But does the same thing apply to members of the audience?


Look at it this way. We’re all constantly sizing each other up and forming what we at Wixted call “net impressions.” And why do net impressions matter? Because people, including those who present at your company or organization, make decisions based on net impressions.

“Is Bob on board with our business plan?”

“Does Carol really care about this project?”

 “Does Frank believe in the future of this company?”

As you’re sitting there in the audience, I hope your non-verbal communication is saying yes.

And I encourage you to be the audience member to which YOU would want to present.


By: Jeff Johnson

Jeff is a former television anchor and reporter for CBS and ABC affiliates in the Midwest.  In those roles, Jeff has covered state and national events, including the World Series and the NCAA Basketball Tournament.  He has interviewed former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, football great Walter Payton, and baseball legend Bob Feller. Jeff has produced and directed for the Kansas City Royals, Iowa State University, and the PGA Tour.  Jeff earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State University, and he minored in Psychology.