Presentation Challenges: How to Respond to Unexpected and Difficult Situations

     By: AmondaRose Igoe – March 6, 2015 – Posted in: Communication Skills, Keynote Presentations, On-Stage Delivery, Public Speaking Help, Public Speaking Tips, Selling from the Stage, Speaking Challenges

Since I have been speaking professionally for over 15 years, I have seen my fair share of presentation challenges and have learned how to respond to these unexpected and difficult situations with grace and ease.

The specific challenges I am talking about have nothing to do with you and your presentation style.  These are external presentation circumstances that you need to be aware of.  Learn how to deal with these effectively without losing your composure and impacting your presentation results.  

Let’s talk about the most common presentation challenges and how to respond to these unexpected and difficult situations.

1 – Disruptive background noise

Noise can come from the speaker in the room next door, dining room staff if you’re speaking at a meeting where they serve lunch or attendees entering the room late.  

Background noise does happen so you need to learn how to handle it effectively.  Often the typical response is to start talking louder which just feels like you’re shouting at the audience especially if using a microphone.

Instead, you need to use an authoritative tone of voice.  Think of how a drill sergeant in the army would speak or a Mom who wants to stop their child from touching a hot stove.  These are examples of an authoritative tone. When you use an authoritative tone, your voice will carry much further and be easier to hear, than trying to raise the volume of your voice.  

2 – People arriving late

99% of the time someone will walk in late.  

Do you acknowledge them by saying hello or welcome them verbally? Absolutely not, this would disrupt the flow of your presentation and it puts the focus on the person walking into the room late instead of everyone else who arrived on time.  

If you feel it is necessary to acknowledge late comers in some way, give them a nod or a smile then focus your attention straight back to your audience who arrived on time.  

3 – Someone starts talking repeatedly during your presentation

On occasions someone will speak really loud when talking with the person next to them.  They might be excited about what you are talking about and want to share this, or maybe they are planning their lunch break. If they only do this once, for a brief second or two, you don’t need to worry about those types.  

The one’s that you really need to worry about are:

– The Chatty Cathys or the Nonstop Talking Toms.
– The ones that answer their cell phone and start talking to their caller whilst still in their seat.
– The ones who consistently keep talking to the person in the seat next to them. 

The best way to “politely” stop them from talking is to call out their name (if you know it) and ask them a question related to your presentation.

If you catch them off guard they will feel embarrassed and they won’t do it again! Plus, the entire room will be concerned that it will happen to them too so it eliminates the chance of this happening again. 

The 3 challenges I’ve just shared with you do happen!

Presentation challenges do come up and you need to know how to respond to unexpected and difficult situations with confidence and ease.  

If you don’t handle these situations effectively, your audience and/or event organizer will lose respect for you. If your audiences and/or event organizer loses respect for you it will certainly interfere with your reputation and your financial bottom line.  

Maybe your presentation doesn’t go the way you planned and it had nothing to do with external circumstances, I have help for you too!  

Check out my other recent article titled: ‘Presentation Blunder – How to Rebound, Refocus and Re-energize after a Presentation Disaster’ here

 

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