Hecklers: How We Handle Them
When we envision a heckler, an angry individual wielding tomatoes is often the image that comes to mind. On the contrary, presentation hecklers can attack through interruptions, posing impossible questions, and more. While we have been fortunate enough to avoid many encounters with these disgruntled audience members, here is our tried-and-true wisdom on how to handle their attacks gracefully.
1. Keep Your Cool
Many heckler's main goals are to throw a presenter off their game. To avoid giving them what they are asking for (your attention), simply continue your presentation over their comments. Holding your composure and keeping your presentation together is the best way to quickly and effectively shut a distractor down.
2. Don't Fight Back
While it can be tempting to give the heckler an equally-snarky piece of your mind, try killing them with kindness. Maintain your professional composure, thank them for their input, and continue to focus the audience's attention on your presentation.
3. Request Their Departure
If you've given the heckler a chance to behave and they still insist on being a presentation distract them, ask them to leave. As a presenter, you hold the authority to request someone to leave your space. This might sound scary or authoritarian, but your audience will thank you for saving them from another second with a heckler.
Looking for more presentation tips and tricks? Check out the Dog and Pony Show blog post on how to flawlessly prepare for a Q&A session!
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