Public Speaking: how to deal with negative audiences or trolls

If speaking in public is everyone’s secret fear, then getting heckled must come in second. Of course, it’s usually not a mob you have to deal with but one or two very difficult people.

It seems some people prefer attention, even negative attention, rather than feeling ignored. And look for opportunities to ‘clear the air’, ‘get to the heart of the matter’, and ‘clarify what you really meant’. Commonly, it’s all a ruse to start a squabble.

If at some point in your public speaking career you get heckled, what tactics can you use to diffuse the situation and turn it to your advantage? For example…

You’ve prepared well for a presentation, including extensive research, and you’re confident that you know what you’re talking about…

…but, you find one or more people choosing to vehemently disagree with your arguments!


Does your personal brand have a real voice?

How do you manage your personal brand? Do you actively steer how others perceive you?

For those who have embraced the world of social media, the opportunities to make yourself visible are legion – from LinkedIn to Facebook, from Twitter to StumbleUpon and WordPress to a gazillion other broadcasting tools.

Vickie Elmer made some interesting observations on last week about the dangers of personal over branding – recommending a PR mantra of ‘little and well’ versus the danger of overkill.

In agreeing with Vickie, I would add something else…


Cometh the hour…and why leaders don’t sugar-coat messages

Should  you ever sugar-coat bad news? How about over-riding what you know in your heart of hearts?

Do you sometimes choose to ignore or avoid accepting reality, so you don’t have to address underlying problems?

Everyone knows that the Eurozone is in a mess – lurching from one pending disaster to another.  And absent a plan all its members can and will get behind, you know there’s worse to come!

There are too many political leaders who would rather peddle denial than grasp nettles to solve problems once and for all.

But is there a better way?


Top public speaking tips – Are you preparing to fail?

Speech Preparation SkillsDid you read last week’s article on ‘why public speakers shouldn’t seek perfection’?

Most of the responses I received sided with the idea that speakers should focus more on sharing something of value and connecting with an audience than the exact words they utter.

Others weren’t convinced.

Some felt I was suggesting that a presenter could be sloppy when preparing or delivering a speech.

Absolutely not – after all, public speaking is all about influencing others with our words and that won’t happen if you wing your speeches.

So, am I changing my tune?