All professional speakers will at some point in their careers come across a negative member of the audience. It is important for the speaker to handle the situation while maintaining a professional appearance. You should keep in mind that there is material that needs to be covered and that is the basis for the presentation.
The subject matter needs to be addressed whether the audience is receptive or not. As a presenter, you should adopt an attitude that you are capable of effectively communicating your message and that you can do it in a professional manner. The following guidelines are useful in keeping your presentation on the right track.
A. Knowledge Prepare adequately for your presentation. Know the details of your subject matter and not just main points. Your knowledge is a powerful weapon. It will allow you to respond competently to unexpected questions. After preparing, review the subject and pose likely questions that could arise. Eliminate any inconsistencies in your presentation. Have a list of answers in anticipation for some questions that may be asked.
B. Reaction Remember that you are the master of the subject matter and you therefore have to conduct yourself in a professional manner. Avoid reacting to negative questions or comments. A negative reaction quickly erodes all positive views the audience may have held about you. This will reduce their confidence in you and prevent you from making a personal connection with them. Stay focused on the subject matter.
C. Questions & Answers Don’t leave any question unanswered. If you come off as avoiding hard questions, the audience will lose confidence in you authority on the subject matter. If you can competently answer questions posed by the audience, they will come to see you as their resource. Answering all questions will greatly build your credibility.
D. Control If you reply to a negative audience with a similar negative emotion, you will lose control of the subject. It is important to remain focused at all times. Emotions should not come in the way of delivering the content that you were appointed to present. Control is a characteristic of a developed speaker.
E. Prepare Once you experience a negative encounter during a speaking experience will begin to prepare you to handle any others that may follow. Rather than focus on the situation itself, learn from it and let it be a lesson to help you deal with any others. Evaluate yourself and how you handled the situation. What lessons did you come off with?
F. Engage If your presentation does not connect with the negative audience members, they are only likely to stay negative for the duration of your presentation. Your objective as a professional speaker is to create as many connections with the audience members. The subject should vivid in the minds of the audience as a result of your presentation.
Practice the art of reacting in a professional manner. This will enable you to establish yourself as an expert at the subjects you present and also as a leader. Negative audience members should not hold you ransom. Present your subject professionally and regard negative experiences as learning opportunities. This will set you on the path to becoming a professional speaker.