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Presentation Nuisances: Hecklers, Tech Difficulties & Natural Disasters

It doesn’t matter whether it’s your first or nth presentation, or how confident you’ve become with your skills to engage the audience, one way or another you’ll have to deal with unexpected interruptions in the midst of your remarks.

Expect that how you handle these situations will be remembered more than what you said during the actual presentation. This is because people are programmed to commit emotionally jarring events to memory.

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Humans possess the remarkable ability to conjure even the smallest details surrounding a bad experience.

Even with a well-made PowerPoint presentation, your reputation is always at stake when faced with interruptions.

Types of Interruptions

Nuisances during presentations fall under various categories, including:

  • Hecklers
  • Technical Problems
  • Major Disasters

Hecklers are those who protest to disagree or humiliate the speaker during a presentation. They get their point across by using the most unreasonable means possible. While they are rude most of the time, you cannot respond in the same way.

Your reactions may depend on who you are, especially when it comes to hecklers. All you have to do is find what works best for you. You can make it part of your act; handle it with philosophy; or even handle it with humor. While comedians can take down a heckler in a blaze of glory, some entertainers still think not letting them get the best of you is the mature thing to do.

What if the power goes out in the middle of your presentation or the tech malfunctions at the closing slide? While you know the PowerPoint like the back of your hand, such an event can still throw you off your game.

Peter Khoury of MagneticSpeaking shares that you shouldn’t try to fix the technology while you’re supposed to be giving a presentation. Instead, ask for technical assistance and start with your pitch.

In the event of a natural disaster, don’t panic. Remain calm and exit the building. This sends a message that despite the unfortunate event, you are still in control.

Staying Calm and in Control

While each type of interruption requires a different approach, staying calm and in control is constant. Never lose your cool in front of your audience, as this will make you look unprofessional and you’re sure to lose their trust and respect.

It’s easy to let these disturbances under your skin. Always be courteous and polite—maintain a level head and get your presentation back on track as quickly as possible.

Interruptions during presentations come in various forms, but if you can handle them gracefully, you’ll have no problem earning your audience’s respect. Doing otherwise may diminish the effectiveness of your presentation and you as a speaker.

Always keep in mind that even if you want to show your custom PowerPoint presentation design to your audience, it will only be secondary to your stage presence so be mindful of how you handle yourself in front of an audience.

Preparing for a presentation can be difficult, such interruptions can really grate on your nerves. Take it easy, handle it with patience and grace, and you’ll be sure to leave a lasting impression.

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Reference:

Cancio, Colleen. “Do we remember bad times better than good?” HowStuffWorks. October 4, 2011. science.howstuffworks.com/life/remember-bad-times-better-than-good.htm

Fernandez, Jesse. “More Tips on Handling Hecklers from Stand-Up Comics.” Paste Magazine. September 8, 2016. www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2016/09/more-tips-on-handling-hecklers-from-top-stand-up-c.html

Khoury, Peter. “4 Thing than can Go Wrong with Your Presentation and How to Handle Them.” MagneticSpeaking. magneticspeaking.com/4-things-that-can-go-wrong-with-your-presentation-and-how-to-handle-them/

Presentation Nuisances: Handling Them Like a Professional

It doesn’t matter whether it’s your first or nth presentation, or how confident you’ve become with your skills to engage the audience, one way or another you’ll have to deal with unexpected interruptions in the midst of your remarks.

Expect that how you handle these situations will be remembered more than what you said during the actual presentation. This is because people are programmed to commit emotionally jarring events to memory.

SlideGenius Blog Module One

Get hundreds of PowerPoint slides for free.

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Humans possess the remarkable ability to conjure even the smallest details surrounding a bad experience.

Even with a well-made PowerPoint presentation, your reputation is always at stake when faced with interruptions.

Types of Interruptions

Nuisances during presentations fall under various categories, including:

  • Hecklers
  • Technical Problems
  • Major Disasters

Hecklers are those who protest to disagree or humiliate the speaker during a presentation. They get their point across by using the most unreasonable means possible. While they are rude most of the time, you cannot respond in the same way.

Your reactions may depend on who you are, especially when it comes to hecklers. All you have to do is find what works best for you. You can make it part of your act; handle it with philosophy; or even handle it with humor. While comedians can take down a heckler in a blaze of glory, some entertainers still think not letting them get the best of you is the mature thing to do.

What if the power goes out in the middle of your presentation or the tech malfunctions at the closing slide? While you know the PowerPoint like the back of your hand, such an event can still throw you off your game.

Peter Khoury of MagneticSpeaking shares that you shouldn’t try to fix the technology while you’re supposed to be giving a presentation. Instead, ask for technical assistance and start with your pitch.

In the event of a natural disaster, don’t panic. Remain calm and exit the building. This sends a message that despite the unfortunate event, you are still in control.

Staying Calm and in Control

While each type of interruption requires a different approach, staying calm and in control is constant. Never lose your cool in front of your audience, as this will make you look unprofessional and you’re sure to lose their trust and respect.

It’s easy to let these disturbances under your skin. Always be courteous and polite—maintain a level head and get your presentation back on track as quickly as possible.

Interruptions during presentations come in various forms, but if you can handle them gracefully, you’ll have no problem earning your audience’s respect. Doing otherwise may diminish the effectiveness of your presentation and you as a speaker.

Always keep in mind that even if you want to show your custom PowerPoint presentation design to your audience, it will only be secondary to your stage presence so be mindful of how you handle yourself in front of an audience.

Preparing for a presentation can be difficult, such interruptions can really grate on your nerves. Take it easy, handle it with patience and grace, and you’ll be sure to leave a lasting impression.

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Public Speaking and Insincerity: What Ruins Authenticity?

As a speaker, you always need to establish your credibility the moment you step in front of your audience. You want their attention so you have to earn it by being confident and showing them that you know what you’re talking about.

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A customized PowerPoint presentation is just half of your performance. Outdated facts and miscalculations aren’t the only factors that can affect your credibility as a presenter, but the way you talk can also ruin your authenticity as a speaker.

If you’re conducting a presentation soon, here are a few things you should remember NOT to do:

Yes, smiling keeps you physically and emotionally healthy, but when you overdo it, it can be unnerving. If your audience notices this, they will not perceive this as genuine warmth, but as insincere and mechanical.

Resist the urge to smile just for the sake of smiling and instead, do it when you’re talking about something you and your audience should genuinely smile about.

 

Most—if not all—speakers have gone through presentation anxiety once in their professional lives. It’s normal, but fidgeting is one of the things you should avoid during a sales pitch. Not only will this make you look uncomfortable, but your audience will sense a disconnect between what you’re saying to what you’re showing them right away.

 

If you pause as part of the natural flow of your talk, that’s fine, but if you stop talking in the middle of making a point, your audience will start to wonder if you’ve actually forgotten what you have to say. Not only will this make you look unprofessional, but it will seem like you’re not an expert on the topic.

Stop using filler words. Take a deep breath and relax.

 

Every speaker wants to show their enthusiasm when presenting in front of potential investors and customers, but too much of this energy can come off as anxiety rather than ease. These behaviors include jerky movements, rapid pacing, and talking too fast.

It’s understandable that you want to avoid putting your audience to sleep, but if you go overboard, it will look as if you’re talking at your audience instead of to your audience.

The same goes for being too stoic. Listeners might misconstrue your lack of energy as mechanical and disinterest.

 

When you’re an up-talker, your sentences end with a rise in pitch, making your declaratives sound like questions. This can be confusing to your audience because it will seem like you’re unsure of what you’re saying, whereas, your main goal is to convince them that what you’re offering is the best option.

You might not be aware that you’re doing these things, which is why you need to practice as much as you can. Ask your peers to provide feedback, as these will help you improve for the big day.

Once you finish your customized PowerPoint presentation, study it. Make sure you know it like the back of your hand—don’t memorize, internalize—and you’ll be sure to have a great presentation.

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References:

Abrahams, Matt. “3 Speaking Habits That Are Damaging Your Credibility.” Inc.com. March 9, 2015. www.inc.com/matt-abraham/3-speaking-habits-that-are-damaging-your-credibility.html

Rehn, Alf. “Every Great Speaker Is a Fantastic Pauser—On Using Pauses and Silences in Public Speaking.” Medium. March 29,2016. medium.com/the-art-of-keynoting/every-great-speaker-is-a-fantastic-pauser-on-using-pauses-and-silences-in-public-speaking-84b64f28f070

Information Retention: Remembering PowerPoint Presentations

Given the amount of information you cram into your presentation, getting people to remember all of it is a feat in itself.

This is why people have different ways of presenting. Some like to build an emotional bond with their audience while others provide hard data and analytics. There are those who cut right to the chase and those who take a linear, logical approach.

However, it doesn’t matter which type of presenter you are if the audience doesn’t remember anything about it. You have to give them something that will stick for as long as they will keep remembering your brand.

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If you’re going to hire presentation specialists, expect to receive a deck that is nothing short of impressive, making it easier for your audience to remember the information you’re feeding them.

Retention Rates

People retain information in various ways and while there isn’t a manual on what works best for everyone, adults retain approximately 10% of what they see; 30%–40% of what they see and hear; and 90% of what they see, hear, and experience—this, according to the National Highway Institute’s “Principle of Adult Learning & Instructional Systems Design.”

The way your audience retains information is vital in presentation design because the more effective and engaging it is, the more people will remember it at the end of the week.

It’s rather worrying that if you’re eyeing for a favorable business decision and you end up giving a mediocre presentation. This could result in investors having already forgotten what you’ve said a week later, and likely that your information won’t be considered when they need to reach a decision.

The phrase, “Content is King,” may be overused, but it stays true, even for presentations. You have to make sure that they remember a catchy headline, powerful quote, or striking image.

So, how exactly can you make your presentation more memorable?

Visual Impact

Instead of using bullet points, use images that resonate with the audience. This inspires them to act, making it easier for them to retain information for much longer.

Visuals shouldn’t distract the audience, but rather, reel them in and help them become engaged in the discussion.

Print Collateral

Brochures, flipbooks, executive summaries—if you want to provide more information without taking much of your audience’s time, have handouts ready by the end of your presentation. That, or you can provide downloadable versions of your PowerPoint so they can look over it and check if they’ve missed anything. These provide notable facts and figures essential for business decisions that might have to be made in the future.

Stop filling your slides with fluff and instead, make your message clear and concise. Have your key points ready and focus on what you want to get across. Apart from sharing what you know with the audience, be prepared for whatever they might throw your way at the end of the presentation.

Apart from having a professionally designed PowerPoint presentation, you have to make sure that it contains memorable features that will leave a lasting impression on your audience. If you want to make sure that it’s effective and engaging, rehearse and apply whatever feedback you receive from peers.

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References:

“Principle of Adult Learning & Instructional Systems Design.” National Highway Institute. November 14, 2012. www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/downloads/freebies/172/PR%20Pre-course%20Reading%20Assignment.pdf

Olenski, Steve. “Why Content Will Always Be King.” Forbes. June 21, 2017. www.forbes.com/sites/steveolenski/2017/06/21/why-content-will-always-always-king/#5f40150deb37