Never Being Caught off Guard: 5 Ways to Handle a Difficult Audience


Talking in front of people is as difficult and sometimes as challenging as it is, but things can feel a whole lot worse when the audience isn’t on your side.

Perhaps you’re trying to give a presentation in a business setting, and everyone is bored and irritable and quickly becomes your enemy.

However, while it may seem pointless trying to get everyone on board with what you’re saying, especially if you’ve got an important message to send, there are plenty of things you can do in order to handle this difficult audience. Today, we’re going to explore five of them.

1. Connect with the Positive People

In any audience, there are going to be positive people who are engaged in what you’re saying, so it’s important that you connect with them. Positivity is infectious, and everybody would rather be happy than stressed out and angry.

Throughout the presentation, you should start to be able to pull people around when they see everyone else engaging.

2. Use Engaging Media

If you’re just talking to your audience, they can quickly lose interest if they’re not engaged with what you’re saying. However, perhaps the best way to counteract this is to use other forms of media. This includes a presentation or slideshow.

This is so you can easier convey the message and information you’re trying to send, which helps to keep everyone informed and stops them misunderstanding and ultimately losing interest. Using online services is the smartest way to make a presentation.

3. Address Negativity

Have the confidence to address any negativity in the room. Letting it go and trying to ignore it will only make people join the negativity and notice it more.

Address it where possible, and you’ll be able to nip it in the bud.

If you have someone making insults or negative remarks, simply get up and address the audience by standing next to them. This is a power play, and the confidence it takes to do this will impress your audience and help to pull them onto your side.

4. Use Humor

This is a risky piece of advice because it could backfire, but if you’re a funny person or you think humor could lighten the mood, this can be an extremely effective way to pull the audience round, but it has to be done well.

Make sure the humor you’re using is relatable to your audience, and they understand it. Use it sparingly and don’t overdo it. Otherwise, your audience could backfire and go the other way.

5. Save Five Minutes at the End

The majority of meetings should end with a Q&A at the end in order to take audience questions, but make sure you’re ending the meeting yourself by leaving five minutes at the end.

You don’t want to end on an audience question that could ruin the entire meeting.

As you can see, there are lots of ways you can address and deal with a potentially hostile audience. The most important thing to remember is not to let it get to you and to push on strongly and with purpose.

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