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Anticipating the unexpected

Imagine this. You’ve practised your piece and got it near time perfect, and then someone interrupts you with a comment about you or your content.


They might think they’re being funny or even supportive but really they’re not.


Known as heckling, these unwanted interruptions from someone in the audience can be one of the biggest challenges when you’re presenting.


My advice is to anticipate a heckle. You might have a good idea of who’s likely to make it, so be prepared for them.


Having a few responses up your sleeve that allow you to ride the heckle and stay in control of your stage will help hugely. Here are a couple of suggestions:

  • ‘Thank you! I thought someone would have something to say on that and there you are!’
  • ‘Audience interaction already! I must be hitting the spot.’


Keep it light-hearted. Your audience will love it and your heckler saves face.

Need help with preparing your presentation? Let’s have a chat.


Need help with preparing your presentation. Let's have a chat.

Rachel Maunder is a communication skills and speaker coach and professional speaker.

She has been in the world of competent communication, in different guises, for more than 30 years so has a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise to pass on to her clients, both through her signature programmes and her own presentations.  

You can find out more about her coaching programmes here and about her speaking topics here


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