The best defence against disturbances, interruptions and objections is a clear, concise presentation or talk that holds the attention of the audience by meeting their needs and interests. However, as we all know, even well-laid plans do not always work out – people interrupt, ask unexpected questions, come late or have an objection to make. Rather than expending energy on worrying about what could go wrong, invest some time in preparing yourself to deal confidently with the things you cannot plan for. Your aim is to refuse to be side-tracked and to get back to your prepared material quickly. If you can do this without alienating those who unintentionally (or intentionally) disturb you, then so much the better. The more practise you get with these techniques, the more comfortable you will become at handling an audience in ways you never thought possible
Coping with unexpected questions and disturbances
- Delay answering more difficult questions until afterwards but make sure you do get back to it.
- Postpone more complicated issues or move them to another arena by offering a separate discussion with the questioner.
- Reformulate difficult questions from your listeners into “who, what, where, when or how” questions and then answer yourself, with focus on the positive aspects
- Try not to draw extra attention to the source of the disturbance but if a short, temporary disturbance cannot be ignored, wait until it has passed before continuing.
- Deal with more prolonged disturbances as promptly as possible by finding a suitable solution.
- Stay neutral and professional in tone, body language and facial expression
Try our 5-Step Process for clarifying and dealing with objections
1. Accept everyone has the right to say what they need to say when they need to say it.
2. Clarify (explore) and find out more about true motivation and cause.
3. Answer and deal with the underlying issues and not just the surface objection.
4. Check to make sure the other person is happy with answers/proposed solutions/suggestions.
5. Repeat this process until you are sure moving on is the right thing do.
Why not talk to us – a Test Drive may be the perfect way to try out our techniques for yourself.