Occasionally, there will be somebody in the audience who seems to know more than you do - or rather they think they do. This are what I called the "self-proclaimed experts". What can we do to manage these people?
I had my fair share of "self-proclaimed experts" in my workshops. Once in one of my creative problem solving workshops, as soon as I opened the door for the participants to enter, an 50plus year-old man came in. He was one of the first to enter. He went straight to an empty chair and sat down. He looked around the room and started asking me questions.
He sounded like an interrogator at first; asking me on my work experiences, how long I have been conducting training and various other kinds of questions. Some tough ones. I chatted with him while providing the answers he asked for. It turned out that he had been in the company for years and would be retiring in a few years' time. That was my cue "win" him over.
So here are some tips that you can do if you face audience who are "self-proclaimed experts:
1) Chat and engage small talks with him/ her
2) Find out what are their strengths/ likes etc.
3) Acknowledge and lavishly (and sincerely) praise them on those areas
4) Get them to be on your side
5) Keep the conversations positive and professional throughout
More often than not, these steps helped me in managing these situations. And back to the 50plus year-old participant I mentioned earlier, we turned out to be best of buddies during the session. He was very supportive of my presentation, willingly shared his experiences in the company to value-add my points which I shared and willingly offered to volunteer when I needed assistance to do some demonstrations.
How about you? Do you face something familiar? Would like to hear from you too.
Towards your speaking success,