3 ways to handle difficult audience members

If an audience member tries to dismantle your argument, or asks inappropriate questions or distracts other listeners, these methods can help.

Ragan Insider Content

A presentation predator is simple to spot.

A presentation predator wants to distract attention from, dismantle, or deny your message. Predators accomplish this by heckling, asking inappropriate questions, raising doubt by talking to other audience members, rolling their eyes and so on.

Predators can kill your presentation.

If predators change your listeners’ minds by making you look weak or foolish, they win. Consider those YouTube videos of nervous beauty queens caught off-guard by tricky questions. You don’t want to be like them.

Sometimes a predator doesn’t even need to rally the audience. If you’re a natural performer in a room filled with left-brainers, you could build an atmosphere of doubt without a predator saying anything.

Here are three tips to stop predators and give a successful presentation:

1. Engage everyone.

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