Anytime you're giving a presentation, you want to be reading your audience really looking at them. are they paying attention? Are they falling asleep? Are they talking to each other? Are they texting because that's a problem for you. The speaker, it's not enough to say, oh, they're rude.
That's your problem as a speaker. Once I was conducting all day long media training and presentation training course in Atlanta, Georgia, it was at the Carter Center. And I had about 20 political leaders from Nigeria over. I had governors of states, the attorney general, the Vice President, they were all there in the training. And it seemed like I was losing them. There was just so much talking.
They're talking the whole time, I felt like I was being ignored. Now, the trainings typically go from nine till five and all day long training. About three o'clock, the organizer came up to me and sort of whispered in my ear to say I think you're losing them. Let's wrap up early today. Okay, so I quickly wrap up, we finished around 330 instead of five second, I'm done. You know what happened?
All the trainees rushed me. They came up, set how excited they were how much they enjoyed the training. They're all fighting with each other, see who can be next to me to have a picture taken with me and their group photos, individual photos. They stayed Africa for lots of questions. All sorts of things going on. They were really excited.
They love the training, the response was overwhelmingly positive. Some of them I heard from for years later through email. So all in all, it was a good training. Here's what happened in my estimation. I simply made a misjudgment. Every culture is a little bit different.
There's certain cultural nuances most of the time, most places I speak. If I'm standing up training and someone's three feet in front of me and they're two Talking the whole time to the person next to them usually assign I'm doing something wrong, usually assigned, they're not that interested in what I had to say in this case. No, that's just how they wanted to share their enthusiasm. And that's how they wanted to experience the training. So I made a misjudgment that they actually liked it. So the real lesson I think, is always be aware of your audience.
Be looking at them, try to sense what's going on, but don't make quick automatic judgments. assuming you're failing or you're doing something awful. You're a disaster. You've got to have an open mind. Okay, so why do I tell that story? fairly self explanatory.
I want people to realize you can seem like you're bombing and you're really not. There can be different reactions from different audiences. Now, I haven't spoken yet in Japan, but my understanding is in Japan. If an audience member really likes what you're saying and respects to actually close their eyes because they're so intent on concentrating on your words. And any other culture someone's closing their eyes it usually means they fallen asleep. So that's the lesson of the story.