What does that word bring to your mind? A bustling restaurant? City traffic? Children on a playground?
While all of those things are definitely noisy in the traditional use of the word, we use the word noise a little differently in the communication field. When we are talking about communication, a good synonym for noise is distraction. It describes anything that gets in the way of a message. And anything that creates a barrier for communicating is a problem.
Speakers need to know all of the different forms that noise can take so that we can clear the pathway for effective presentations. After all, we need about 23 minutes to refocus after we are distracted. And even then, we come back to our previous thoughts with what researchers call “attention residue.”
How can speakers hope to overcome the distractions that plague listeners today? Some forms of noise we can deal with pretty simply. Other forms aren’t so easy to battle. Let’s explore the two main categories of distractions that can interfere with our presentations: external noise and internal noise.
We call distractions that occur outside of the listener external noise. Another way to think of external noise is anything that is distracting to a larger portion of the communication community. Overcoming external noise is primarily the responsibility of the speaker.
- Environment: This type of external noise can be anything from a phone going off during a presentation to the temperature of the room. What can you do? For large scale issues with environmental noise, sometimes you need to make an adjustment so your audience can both hear you and focus on your message. That might mean stopping the presentation long enough to address what is distracting.
We call distractions that occur inside the listener internal noise. Of the two categories, this type of noise is more difficult for a speaker to discover and combat. Overcoming internal noise is primarily the responsibility of the listeners.
The goal for presenters is to reduce the noise that plagues presentations as much as they can. Besides the specific tips listed above, presenters should simply be aware that communication doesn’t occur within a void. We can always work to address and minimize the noise that might be interfering with our presentations.
Need more tips on how to make your next presentation the best it can be? Get in touch with our team of experts at Ethos3 now.
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