It can be a discomfort for speakers if one or more audience member causes trouble by asking annoying questions that are irrelevant to the subject that is under discussion or continuously wants to debate. The majority of the participants would invest their full time in asking questions that help them. Nonetheless, there might be one or two in the group to dilute the concentration the speaker and that of the audience. So, how do you deal with an annoying audience member? Here is a post, which will help you to quickly analyze the nature of the participant and solve the issue on a good note.
Types of “problem-creating” participants
While there are many types of participants who can create problems during your speech, the most common are listed below.
- Marty the Monopolist
- Sheila the Show-off
- Carly the Clown
- Ellen the Experienced
- Mr. Drew Doubtful
Dealing with tough participants (most annoying)
From the speaker’s standpoint, it might be quite disturbing when an audience member asks a tough or annoying question to show-off or attract participants. Beware that these participants might be intruders or competitors to bring your show down. Hence, beware of them. Below are few tips to deal with them.
1) Try to answer all questions from annoying participants if you feel they add value
2) Do a proper homework on how to tackle such participants and rehearse it thoroughly
3) You can request the participant to contact you after the conference to avoid delay in completing the agenda
4) Try to admit if you do not have an answer to a question. You can simply say, “That’s a good question, I will see if I can find you the right answer and get back to you on that”
5) Sometimes, a participant can ask a long question and you need to have patience to listen to it completely. Try answering after you fully listen to the question and do not reply saying the question is vague or no one can answer. This might cause more irritation to the participant who posed it.
6) Politely you should point out that you are running out of time and that you can discuss the question through email or phone call after the seminar
7) You can divert the question by passing the same question to other participants and watch to see the question getting solved itself
8) Target some quiet participants and knowledgeable person and appreciate them for the participation. These people might help you to overcome the tough question that the annoying participant had asked. Because, everyone knows about annoying participants and the entire team can support you if you do a good presentation
9) For annoying humor questions, you must handle it in a calm way. You can ask the participant to repeat the question so that the timely fashion of asking it might go away
10) If a participant often keeps complaining about their colleagues, it may cause discomfort. You can handle this situation by asking the participant to think from a positive scenario and stimulate the group to help them out
The best advice would be not to panic, loose temper and to gain control over the situation. This way, you can handle annoying participants in an easy yet humble way.