28 Jan Managing difficult behaviour in your audience
Perhaps you’ve experienced rude or difficult behaviour during your meetings, conferences or presentations. Examples can include people looking at their technology, side conversations, or a person who really loves the sound of their own voice and keeps calling out ideas or asking inappropriate questions that don’t add to the outcomes for the group. What did you do at the time? Did it work? Do you know what to do to make sure you minimise the amount of energy you have to spend on managing the group and maximise positive results in all your meetings?
Here are some tips for managing difficult behaviour:
Many of my clients who have come to the end of their tether regarding lack of attention from meeting participants place a basket near the door of their board room for mobile phones. When you walk in the door, your phone goes in the basket. You collect your phone on the way out. It’s a simple and brilliant way to ensure people are not distracted by technology during meetings, so the meeting runs more smoothly, you’re more likely to find people listen and can make faster decisions. Everyone wins.
Ensure at all times that you maintain your 100% rapport. Don’t sound annoyed; if you do, you’ve lost your control. Remember, people are not their behaviour. So whilst the person’s behaviour might be seemingly ‘dysfunctional’, that doesn’t mean they are a dysfunctional person!
Turn to a friend
Walk close to them without turning your head or eye contact in their direction. Remember never to face ‘front on’ to them. Your physical proximity is often enough to help people realise their interruptions are unwanted at this time.
Hand it over to the audience
This is a version of ‘Turn to a Friend’. Use the energy of your audience and give permission to everyone to talk about something with the person next to them. For example: ‘OK everyone, please talk to the person next to you and find out their concerns about the project plan to date — you have two minutes.’ Having assumed control over the way the audience members go to the activity, you are now in a position to control the way in which they turn their attention back to you so that you can resume your presentation.