Category Archives: meetings

Audience Engagement: Setting Them Up to Listen

Audience Engagement: Setting Them Up to Listen

I was recently speaking with friends about how to capture attention in a professional environment. Among the group were a couple of doctors who teach in academic settings and a curriculum coach from an inner-city public school. When we discussed audience engagement, the consensus was:

If you want to get doctors to listen, give them pens; if you want to get teachers to listen, serve breakfast…”

We all teach professionals in dramatically different settings — whether in the hospital, at a school, or in a corporate office, we all strive to capture attention.

Regardless of the audience, you have to set people up to listen. A lot goes into building an efficient agenda and leading a productive meeting. One piece that is often neglected is how we set people up to listen. For your next meeting, think about creating a listening environment:

  1. What time of day are you meeting? If you’re battling against the early-morning rush hour or the late afternoon slump, think of pick-me-ups you can include. Caffeine, sweets, or fresh fruit. Little additions can make a big difference in people’s attention.
  2. What’s the goal of your meeting? Can you move the setting to be more conducive to your meeting? If you’re always at the same conference table, think of changing things up. Try a different floor, meeting in a collaborative space, or simply switching your usual seat. New environments lend themselves to creative ideas and different ways of thinking.
  3. Start people off in the right frame of mind. Maybe you need to send out a pre-read, start with a short video, or show a tangible example of your work. Think of ways you can draw the audience in and get them thinking about your issue right from the start. If they’re well-prepared or you pique their interest right away, you’re more likely to be successful.

Audience engagement requires more than preparing an amazing slide deck or putting together a thoughtful message plan. It’s not as simple as handing out goodies or serving breakfast, but if you’re proactive and help put your audience into the right mindset for listening, your meetings will be more efficient, more effective, and possibly even more fun!

At The Latimer Group, our individual Coaching services are highly customized and designed to help you achieve your specific goals. Typical engagements focus on developing skill sets in Leadership Communications, Public Speaking, and Executive-Level Business Presentations. To learn more, e-mail us at

A Great Way to Think About Your Next Meeting

A Great Way to Think About Your Next Meeting

Last week, while teaching a client workshop, one of the participants verbalized a great way to think about business meetings… specifically, a great way to think about the level of information you need to be able to discuss. The participant described the difference between an “index card meeting” and a “full binder meeting.” Some meetings… Continue Reading

Communication Leadership: Make the Message

Communication Leadership: Make the Message

Originally published with the Forbes Coaches Council at August 8, 2017 What’s the first step in crafting a persuasive presentation? For many people, the agony of the blank page sends them straight to the slide deck. Maybe you have a template to work with, maybe you can pull up some visually interesting data, maybe you… Continue Reading

Leadership Tips: Practice What You Preach

Leadership Tips: Practice What You Preach

We get inquiries all the time from managers, directors and organizational leaders about a need for communication training for their teams. And in nearly every conversation, the leader is very clear about the needs and weaknesses of his or her team. Then, when we actually conduct the training, and once the participants get comfortable enough… Continue Reading

Communication Leadership: Learning To Assess

Originally published with the Forbes Coaches Council at July 25, 2017 For years, I’ve been intimately involved in the process of training Olympic-level athletes for the U.S. Olympic Sailing Program, both as an athlete myself and eventually as Chairman and Team Leader for all of U.S. Olympic Sailing. At that level of competition, there… Continue Reading

The Words We Use Matter. Choose Them Carefully.

The recent controversy over Bill Maher’s use of a racial epithet was yet another example of the power of language. Words have meaning, both good and bad. Words have power, both good and bad. Words make us feel things, both good and bad. This post is not about Bill Maher, the politics of language or… Continue Reading

Always Be Ready to Argue the Other Side

We think and talk about persuasion a lot over here at The Latimer Group. We believe that the ability to use your words to create good outcomes is a critical skill in our world today… this has probably always been true, but perhaps never MORE true than it is today. In a world where communication… Continue Reading

Do Your Words Inspire Others to Keep Talking?

Today’s post was written by Amy Fenollosa, Director of Learning at The Latimer Group. It’s the time of year for graduation ceremonies and new beginnings. We’re seeing inspirational books displayed on the shelves of our local bookstores, graduation cards at stationary shops and snippets of commencement speeches flooding our newsfeeds. As I think of the… Continue Reading

4 Long-Term Benefits of Being a Great Communicator

Being a great communicator is about so much more than the sales call you’re about to make, the meeting you’re about to join, or the conversation you’re about to have… Beyond the immediate benefit of closing a sale, or contributing to a meeting, great communication skills create several significant realities that will benefit you in… Continue Reading

All content © 2016-2017

The Latimer Corporation
350 Center Place
Suite 106
Wallingford, CT 06492
Phone: 203.265.4344