What if Someone Falls Asleep During Your Presentation?

Let’s deal with a potentially embarrassing meeting participant: the napper. Have you ever had someone fall asleep during one of your presentations? What do you do if there is a snoozer in the room?

Your goal with the person who chooses your meeting for a siesta is simply to regain their attention without getting egg on their face. Below are some techniques I’ve used personally when dealing with a participant who chooses my presentation for nap time. Yes, I admit it: I’ve had people sleep during my seminars—and it’s hard not to take personally.

What To Do

  • First, don’t embarrass the person
  • Ascertain the problem is not a medical one
  • Plan high-participation activities to support your main points
  • Use plenty of interactive techniques to appeal to everyone in the room
  • Avoid long lectures
  • Don’t turn off the lights for your PowerPoint™
  • Check the lighting in the meeting room beforehand; you may wish to bring in extra lamps
  • Keep your own passion and energy level high

What Not To Do

  • Don’t embarrass them awake
  • Don’t point them out to everyone else
  • Don’t have everyone tiptoe out of the room, turn out the lights, and leave them alone
  • Don’t say “Boo!”


To customize a keynote or professional development session that will have your audience laughing and learning, contact Mandi Stanley.

Certified Speaking Professional Mandi Stanley works with business leaders who want to boost their professional image by becoming better speakers and writers through interactive high-content keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops, technical writing seminars, and fun proofreading classes. 

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Photo by Brina Blum on Unsplash