How to handle mobile phones during presentations Part 2 of 3: “Incentives” to stop mobile phones ringing

carrot_psfYou can read Part 1 on Ground Rules here.

“Incentives” to stop mobile phones ringing
A ground rule is only as good as the audience’s willingness to follow it. Mobile phones are such a personal device that many people will not cooperate or simply will forget to switch it to silent.  What can a business presenter do when a mobile phone goes off in a meeting – and still keep rapport with the audience?

In some Western cultures, presenters have tried this incentive:
“Anyone whose phone rings during a meeting buys a round of beers that night for everyone in the meeting”. In a meeting with many participants that is large motivator. The only opt out clause is if the person takes a call to close a big deal, in which case they would be expected to to celebrate the deal.

In certain cultures, the disapproval of the presenter or trainer can be a motivator.  The caveat here is that you have to know the line that you can’t cross with your audience. If you insult them or look down on them or become a dictator then you’re going to find it difficult to get things done with them.

One method is to stop speaking when the phone rings. This signals to the participants that you have been interrupted and can’t continue until the distraction is eliminated. Don’t call out the person’s name or even look in their direction. Keep calm and smile. When the phone is switched off, simply say “Thank you” and move on.


Warwick John Fahy is the international executive speech coach for senior executives, business leaders and entrepreneurs who need to influence clients, investors, shareholders and team members. His highly practical approach and deep cross cultural intelligence have made him a sought-after business presentation coach throughout the world.

Warwick is the author of the acclaimed book, The One Minute Presenter – 8 steps to successful business presentations in a short attention span world. For free executive speaking tips visit

To arrange presentation skills training or coaching to build your executive presence visit this web site.

For a media interview call +86 1391 786 7502.

Copyright 2010 Warwick John Fahy All rights reserved.

0 Responses to “How to handle mobile phones during presentations Part 2 of 3: “Incentives” to stop mobile phones ringing”

Comments are currently closed.