lonely man originalDear John*,

(that was your name wasn’t it? I’m afraid I’m already forgetting)

I’m sitting here drinking coffee and chewing on a piece of cinnamon bun. Don’t really have the energy to talk to anybody, even though there are many interesting people around me. I’ve just been listening to your presentation, the first 45 minutes up to the coffee break, and I’m sorry to say that I’m considering leaving you now.

I had such great hopes from the beginning. The subject is fascinating and I’ve read enough to know that there’s much more to learn and enjoy. I looked forward to settling back in my seat and hearing the real thing, a true expert. Enlightenment was on the menu. Clarity and facts were food for my soul, but this fare has sent me into a post-presentation stupor. I’m over-full, over-fed, stuffed to the gills but still haven’t tasted what I came for.

Something passed by there on slide number 38, seemed to be just what I wanted to know, but now I only have a ghostly image in the back of my mind which is fading fast. I’m really not too good at reading fast and listening at the same time. I guess it’s back to the textbooks now.

I hope you won’t miss me or mind that I go. You didn’t catch my eye for 45 minutes, so I’m guessing you won’t be so disappointed. I wish you all the best for the rest of your talk. You sure do know a whole lot about this subject so you won’t have any trouble filling the next 45 min. You seem to love what you do and to be quite content talking about your passion.

Have a great conference, I’m off to listen to that guy in the other lecture hall now.

All the best,

Your audience.

* A “Dear John letter” is a letter written, originally to a soldier overseas, by his wife or girlfriend to inform him their relationship is over, usually because the author has found another lover.

Does this sound familiar? Or does your name just happen to be John? Am I the only one who keeps leaving presentations without being able to get anything out of the subject?  Winning your audience’s attention is just like building a relationship. We all want to live happily ever after together.

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