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Tips: Dealing with interruptions during a presentation

No matter how well you've prepared your material for a presentation, there is still a chance that an interruption may occur while pitching to a new client, speaking at a conference or seminar or leading a team meeting. Your response to the interruption will be a reflection of how well you've prepared yourself mentally for the presentation.

Here are three tips to assist you to deal with interruptions.

1. Ignore the interruption

If you're the only person who has noticed the interruption then it's best to ignore it – it may have occurred outside of the line of sight of the audience, possibly behind them so it's more of a distracter for you. It's important that if this has occurred, you don't allow it to halt the flow of your presentation.

2. Acknowledge the interruption

It may be as simple as a mobile phone rings or you've taken a sip of water and you've spilt the water on you. Acknowledge it without creating an issue around it, distracting the audience and yourself.

The audience often takes the lead from you. If you allow the interruption to distract you then the audience will be distracted too.

The best approach to take is to acknowledge the interruption and then continue with the presentation.

3. Further develop a point

If the whole group has been distracted use the interruption to further develop a point. Using the interruption can give you creative solutions, generate humour or even change the mood of the room.

By being prepared for possible interruptions, you're able to demonstrate your professional approach and your presentation will have an even greater impact on your intended audience.

Do you have any tips that you use when you have been interrupted during a presentation?

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Maria Pantalone

Maria Pantalone is the author of Success Talks: Conversations with Everyday Leaders. Maria works with individuals and teams to make communication their strength so that their message is heard. She provides tailored programs in presentation skills, business writing and effective communication as a leader and team member. Maria’s programs help her clients to excel in their role and be recognised as leaders in their field.
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