How do you keep your audience awake and attentive? Here's an extreme approach that one of my professors used to keep his students alert.)
When I was a young student in Mons, Belgium, I learned the importance of being attentive in class. Two students, oblivious to the lecture, were busy chatting away at their desk in the back of the class. The professor, well aware of their inattention, smiled at the attentive students and continued to lecture as he walked over to the chalkboard. To the right of the chalkboard, on the floor, was a pail of murky stale water. The professor - still lecturing - slowly reached into the pail to retrieve a large sponge, soaking up as much water as possible. Then, without missing a beat, gently lobbed the sponge onto the desk at the back of the room.
It was hard not to laugh. (I'm sure I did anyway.)

Needless to say, I never misbehaved or feel asleep in that class. As far as I know, the professor only did this once. Thereafter, legend was as effective as action.

That was 30 years ago.

I've since thought that I could make my seminars much more exciting by tossing a wet sponge at the first person I see nodding off.  I'd probably have to refund that person's seminar fee, but I'm sure that the rest of my audience would get MUCH more from my presentation.

I wonder what would happen if my pastor did this in church?

He'd only have to do this once, I'm sure, but the rest of the congregation would probably get much more out of the sermons for years to come.

I'm willing to risk it. Are you?

Discussion/Comments (5):

Keep your audience attentive. An extreme tip.

Hey Eric,

I've been reading all of your M400 blogging, which simply just made me order the new upgrated model (M400-150 or whatever it's called).

Anyway... You ask what would happen if a pastor throw away holy water.

{ Link }

Here ya' go :)

Have a nice Sunday.

Lars Sommer, Denmark.

Posted at 07/02/2006 8:15:16 by Lars Sommer

Keep your audience attentive. An extreme tip.

You could always get a patsy to be very obvious in not paying attention in front of everybody else. Then you could throw a wet sponge at him without guilt.

Posted at 07/02/2006 12:19:32 by Kayhan

Keep your audience attentive. An extreme tip.

When I was in the Army my instructors (as did I later on) used to add a picture of a young lady in a state of *ahem* noodieness *ahem* about half way through the lecture either as a photo slide or in a PowerPoint show as the equipment etc got better.

The Jocks used to remain VERY alert thereafter in case another one flashed up (as it did at the end usually...). In recent times we had to add young men in beefcake mood for the ladies in the audience!

So delete naughty ladies/gents and insert cartoons, pictures that make you go WOW or suchlike.

Posted at 07/03/2006 5:54:20 by dave t

...but, who do you throw it at?


I - of course - think this is an interesting idea. You know, you could work it out in advance: Plant someone in the room who you will throw the sponge at to make an example for the group!

Oh, wait, didn't we just do this last week???

Posted at 07/13/2006 15:38:05 by Jason

Keep your audience attentive. An extreme tip.

In high school, My religious studies teacher, (who was an ordained minister who taught part time), used to keep the eraser for the chalkboard close at hand. If he saw someone nodding off or not paying attention, he was liable to throw it at them. Not softly either. The eraser had a wooden handle!!!

Posted at 07/19/2006 11:06:39 by Phil B.

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