Thursday, June 6th, 2013
Did you see Michelle Obama this week? She faced the ultimate public speaking insult: she was heckled while making a speech.
No need to get into the who, or why off heckling. Really, when you think about it, hecklers are going for “shock value” and engagement. What they want, is really irrelevant. So let’s talk about the mistakes people make when when confronted with disruptive participants. Too often, speakers fail to prepare for interruptions, so when someone breaks their flow, emotions kick in, take over, and can potentially, ruin the rest of your speaking event.
This Tip of the Week focuses on hecklers and other disruptive people.
Key things to remember:
- Avoid yelling back
- Fight the urge to move toward the heckler (this only energizes them further)
- Keep calm
- Have a one-liner prepared to move away from them and transition back to your point
But what happens when there is someone in the audience who is disruptive but not heckling. There are plenty of things you can do to help yourself. If you run into the audience member who talks to much with you, in front of you, or about you here are some things you can do:
- Be polite, give good eye contact and then move physically and conversationally to the other side of the room.
- Be silent. Let them recognize how rude they are.
- Draw more attention to them. (This is risky. Only do this if the conditions and your experience warrant it.)
Be sure to watch the tip of the week, where we demonstrate what we’re talking about.
If you like what you see, be sure to leave a comment and share this post with everyone you know, who speaks to an audience.
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