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It’s a real problem for event speakers: cell phone addiction and pressure to remain constantly connected to the office means that many in your audience will be mesmerized by their mobile devices when their eyes should be on you. Here’s how to make sure your presentation can compete with a clever tweet, a viral video or an email from the boss:

Pump up the visuals:

Lose the never-ending bullet points and boring clip-art. Big, bold images that underscore your ideas will captivate your listeners. The more counter-intuitive and surprising the image, the better. If you can connect the image of, say, a single bright banana with your message about a new accounting system, you’ll intrigue your audience — and they’ll want to see what’s next.

Get interactive:

Build audience-participation into your talk so their minds and eyes won’t wander. A text-message insta-poll, a skit with audience volunteers. or even a prize hidden beneath one lucky chair per table does wonders for attention spans during a daylong conference. (Ask your audience to raise their hands and confess en masse to being guilty of a problem you’re talking about – it never fails.) Make your audience part of your talk, and they’ll be talking about your talk later.

Try these techniques, and fewer folks will peek at their phones while you’re at the podium. (But if they strap on 3-D virtual reality goggles in the middle of your talk…well, we tried to help.)

– By David Grady – Crowne Plaza’s Productivity Guru

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