Know When to Stop Talking
If you're a seasoned public speaker, you understand the value of “reading the room.” You can sense whether people are actively engaged and taking notes or are whispering to their seatmates. As the speech continues, you might notice people drifting off or clicking on their phones, giving you the gnawing sense that you need to change your routine mid-stream to yank their attention back from their phones or whomever they're texting. Maybe you need to stop and let them ask questions. In a matter of seconds, you should be able to monitor faces and expressions, and have a plan for making adjustments in real time to reengage the audience when things aren't going well.
On a more one-to-one conversational level, think ...