Here’s the situation: you’re performing, doing your thing.
Your thing could be playing or teaching music, speaking in front of a group, writing a blog, or anything else. The specifics don’t really matter. What matters is that you’ve prepared, practiced, woodshedded, polished, and gotten your ducks in a row. You’re ready, and you’re not taking any prisoners.
So what do you do about the person who isn’t paying attention?
Personally, I think it’s pretty good stuff. If a given lecture falls flat, I tweak it until it’s interesting. I come to play, baby.
There’s always someone who isn’t into it, though. I might have 19 students taking notes and paying close attention, but there’s always one dude in the back who’s half asleep (or totally asleep). As a teacher, noticing this person zoning out during your polished lecture is kind of like getting all dressed up and discovering a single zit: no matter how great the overall situation is, we tend to focus on the flaw. It’s hard not to.
One of my favorite authors, Seth Godin, has a great way of dealing with this problem, and it’s totally transformed my teaching.