Dealing with Interruptions - During A Presentation

We've discussed interruptions at the desk, in last weeks blog. Another situation when interruptions can become a challenge, is when you are presenting. Presenting on front of a group of people is difficult to do, in fact so many people find presenting so stressful, there is even a medical term for it - Glossophobia!

As a speaker, there is a lot to take into consideration when you are presenting. You are required to make sure everything is technically working, you must talk, move around a room, constantly check back on your slides, remember everything you want to say, potentially hand out information throughout your presentation and constantly monitor audience body language. Its a tough ask.

Add into the mix someone interrupting you, or constantly interrupting you, will result in you loosing your train of thought, getting distracted, or moving off topic. All of which can ultimately impact on the quality of your presentation, the level of interest shown by your audience or you forgetting to address or mention something important, relating to your presentation topic.

Here are some top tips to consider, when dealing with presentation interrupters.

  • Ensure that your overall presentation is clear, and easy to read / see for your audience, slides with lots of information in really small font is challenging for people and they will interrupt if they can't read or see someting.
  • At the beginning of the presentation, ask your audience to kindly wait until the end of the presentation, before asking questions.
  • Try to avoid making slides complex. Also try where possible to use visual aids like video or graphs, especially when sharing complex information.
  • Try where possible to give your audience notes beforehand, with additional information that would cover possible questions.
  • If someone does interrupt, simply ask them to make note of their question and the slide it relates to, explaining that you will answer all questions at the end of your presentation.

On the rare occasion, that someone is just rude and keeps interrupting. Which can sometimes happen, especially if you are presenting a complex or sensitive topic.   In this instance, it's a good tactic to have someone with you at the presentation. Or alternatively, someone in the audience who can support you and ask the audience member to kindly direct their questions at the end of the presentation, and specifically ask the audience member to refrain from interrupting. The audience will always responds better, if someone other than the presenter diffuses a situation, where there is constant interruption or someone is being difficult.

Finally, it's worth noting that if you are not someone who is comfortable about presenting, it's always a good idea to do some training on presentation techniques. Always having someone at events and/or presentations to support you, until you reach a level of comfort in your presentation style.

Wild Poppy Wellbeing Tip. Presenting can be difficult and cause a stress in your body. Viridian L-Theanine & Lemon Balm is a wonderful product that can help relax the body. Here is a blog about this product to learn more.