People come to your session to listen to you and to see “your show”.
Give them what they want! You MUST keep control, especially of your body language.
Whatever happens, you shouldn’t lose control of your session:
- a heckler
- a person that keeps interrupting with right questions
- a demo that’s not working
- a problem with the PC, projector, audio, network, etc.
I this post, we’ll talk about the first two “problems”, related to people that interrupt the flow of the session.
If a person is a heckler, it’s “easy”. In the beginning, you can use good manners to try to solve the problem. If he or she continues, you can involve the rest of the audience to understand if they agree with him or her. In most cases, they’ll help you solve the problem. If they agree with the heckler, you have a big problem 😀.
If the questions are relevant, you should state that there are strict timings in the session, especially if there are other speakers right after your session. If you’re teaching a course, especially if it’s all day long or multiple days, you can manage a little delay. Usually, these kinds of questions can be handled during breaks or at the end of the day.
In every case, you should also listen to your instinct, and sometimes you can follow it if you believe that a detour from the main session can give more value to the attendees. Sometimes questions are more important than the planned lesson, especially when the presentation is directly related to the people attending it. In every case, if you decide to change your path, you should inform the audience and involve them in the decision.
(This post is based on this post in Italian on Linkedin).