Distractions Suck

It's inevitable that someone's phone will suddenly and un-expectedly begin that obnoxious or symphonic ring tone we've come to love. Ever hear that? When it happens, everyone surrounding the guilty party can't help but mentally sing along and finish the next few bars of the song in their own heads. The owner scrambles to silence it, looking perplexed about who could be calling right now. More perplexing to me are those people who decide to go ahead and answer it and actually have a conversation, which is rude to the speaker and everyone else present.

Still, the ever-persistent distraction occurs. Electronic devices are ubiquitous, and most people know they should silence them. But don't expect people to turn them all the way off. As previously mentioned, I expect people to have them on. They may be using them for information gathering from people not in the room, for tweeting about the room temperature to the meeting planner, or to disseminate information immediately to people back in the corporate office who couldn't attend, so let's leave that one behind. Now, what about the door that makes the loud noise clank-click with each entrance and departure? All of us just have to know who came in or bailed out, and we glance in the direction of the exit. Attention is lost, and the presenter has to work doubly hard to get it back.

As a professional entertainer, I know that timing in comedy or magic during a presentation is based on finding the perfect moment to focus ...

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