How to Deal With a Nasty Audience Member

How to Deal With a Nasty Audience Member

You’ve prepared for a presentation, it’s going well, you’re going through all of your slides and then all of a sudden you hit a roadblock. Someone interrupts you to question what you’re talking about. The nasty audience member.

Of course, people are allowed to ask clarifying questions or make points that might differ from yours – but if the person is relentless and doesn’t give up there’s ill will there. No matter how much we prepare, we can’t control who walks into the room – and it’s okay!

Here are a few things to keep in mind the next time you encounter someone who’s determined to be disruptive.

  1. Stay confident, stay on track, and don’t let them throw you off course. There’s a reason you were hired to do this presentation – you are the expert! Don’t let them make you feel otherwise.
  2. Don’t let them catch you off guard. Prepare for them along with everything else! There can be people like that everywhere – even at the nicest of companies. Always expect that there will be at least one in every group.
  3. Confidently answer their question as best as possible, and if they don’t drop it stay in charge and explain that for times’ sake you’d like to cover the material, move on to other questions, and that you can take it offline afterwards.

Remember, it’s business, not personal. Some people just have a point to prove and need attention. Focus on everyone else and remember why you were brought there in the first place.


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