Author Topic: Presentation hijacked!  (Read 3323 times)

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finecabernet

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Presentation hijacked!
« on: October 24, 2012, 10:33:00 PM »
The event has now passed but I'd like to know what to do in the future.

I teach part-time at a community college, and am looking to raise my profile. To that end I volunteered to do a presentation at a meeting for other part-timers in my subject area. I was in the middle of my presentation when a full-time staff member dropped in to have some of our afternoon snacks (I'm not saying it to be nasty; he did this at lunch, and is famous for doing this apparently), interrupted my presentation to tell me all of the points on which I was wrong, and then left. He caused total chaos, lengthened my presentation so that another presenter was cut short, and then took off. He's very much disliked by, well, everyone, and so I had a lot of people express their sympathies afterward, but he couldn't be stopped midstream.

How can I shut this down in the future?

Shoo

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Re: Presentation hijacked!
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2012, 10:43:48 PM »
The event has now passed but I'd like to know what to do in the future.

I teach part-time at a community college, and am looking to raise my profile. To that end I volunteered to do a presentation at a meeting for other part-timers in my subject area. I was in the middle of my presentation when a full-time staff member dropped in to have some of our afternoon snacks (I'm not saying it to be nasty; he did this at lunch, and is famous for doing this apparently), interrupted my presentation to tell me all of the points on which I was wrong, and then left. He caused total chaos, lengthened my presentation so that another presenter was cut short, and then took off. He's very much disliked by, well, everyone, and so I had a lot of people express their sympathies afterward, but he couldn't be stopped midstream.

How can I shut this down in the future?

I'd go to whoever he reports to and complain.  But *if* it happens again, I think you stop everything, walk over to where he is standing, and escort him out of your classroom, telling him you don't appreciate the interruption.

PastryGoddess

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Re: Presentation hijacked!
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2012, 10:54:23 PM »
While he is talking you can walk over to stand in front of him.  This will defintely stop him from talking, since no one has probably ever done that before.

Then you can tactfully let him know that his is interrupting a meeting and start crowding him towards the door.  Pick up his plate/personal items if he doesn't have it/them in his hand.  If he starts to sputter, you just repeat that he is interrupting a meeting and it's time for him to go NOW.

Don't forget to keep smiling and keep repeating the same thing over and over again.  An Icy or Librarians Glare is optional :)

CrazyDaffodilLady

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Re: Presentation hijacked!
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2012, 11:06:14 PM »
At my work place, the phrase used for intrusive inappropriate behavior is "We need to take this offline. You can contact me later." Accompanied by an icy glare if needed.  If that doesn't work (which I've never experienced), then maybe "Please have a seat. I'll respond to questions following the presentation."  And if that doesn't work, tell him he's interrupting and must leave. If that doesn't work, try Mace >:D.
It takes two people to play tug of war. If you don't want to play, don't pick up the rope.

weeblewobble

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Re: Presentation hijacked!
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2012, 10:17:38 AM »
I had something similar happen to me at THE BIG annual conference for my field.  I was nervous about my speech, but I'd gotten through 3/4 of it when I presented a completely non-controversial slide.  A woman in the crowd scoffed, raised her hand and told me that no one did what I had outlined in the slide and that I was wrong.  I shrugged it off, said that was up to the individual and tried to move on.  But the woman continued to argue with me.  So I very calmly said, "That's your opinion and you're welcome to it.  I'm not going to argue about what is a pretty innocuous topic, let's move on."

I finished the presentation with a smile on my face, but inside I was DYING.  I hate public speaking anyway and it was pretty embarrassing to be contradicted like that in front of a room crowded with my peers.  Several people approached me in the hallway and apologized profusely for the woman's behavior, saying, "That is just NOT DONE at this conference.  Speakers are treated with respect."  And apparently, several of those people approached the heckler afterwards, too, because she tracked me down the next morning and apologized for her actions.     

I did not tell her it was "OK." In fact, I was still pretty irritated about it.  But ultimately, I realized that this woman had made a jerk of herself, not of me.  Same goes in your situation.  This guy is a known as a mooching agitator.  His actions don't reflect on you, they reflect on him.

Deetee

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Re: Presentation hijacked!
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2012, 10:33:46 AM »
"Thanks for your thoughts. I'll be happy to address questions at the end of my presentation"

 Repeat

If there were multiple presentations, was there also a facilitator who could repeat that?

lilfox

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Re: Presentation hijacked!
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2012, 12:10:56 PM »
I've seen this happen at a few large professional conferences as well as smaller work presentations.  By "this" I mean rude interruptions from someone with an ax to grind or a need to prove that they're super-smarty-geniuses.  It *never* reflects badly on the speaker.

Even if the interrupter had a legitimate point (and they usually don't, it's almost always opinions), the manner of disrupting, arguing, and pressing the point makes them seem obnoxious or petty.  There is no reason someone can't learn to ask a question, even a challenging one, in a tactful manner;  it's that they choose not to.

While it would be helpful for the session moderator (or manager) to step in if needed, usually it's going to be up to the presenter to get things back on track.  Acknowledge, contain, dismiss.

These are both excellent suggestions for diplomatic ways to defer the interruption:
"We need to take this offline. You can contact me later."  (CrazyDaffodilLady)
"Thanks for your thoughts. I'll be happy to address questions at the end of my presentation" (DeeTee)

Other dismissive variants:
"I'll take that into consideration"
"Interesting.  As I was saying..."
"Let's table this discussion for now"

WillyNilly

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Re: Presentation hijacked!
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2012, 01:27:31 PM »
A fun response - not always or even often appropriate, but in this case with a "crasher" I think it is - would be a big smile and interrupting him "Oh Professor Mooch, I didn't realize you had been invited. Please sit and eat your lunch [motion towards a seat] I'm sure your time slot is coming up soon." (Really get a tone in your voice for the word "invited".) Then physically turn your body away from him (even if just an inch pivot) stand tall, and in a firm voice (still smiling), to the room continue "as I was saying..."
« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 01:59:20 PM by WillyNilly »

Hmmmmm

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Re: Presentation hijacked!
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2012, 01:52:21 PM »
In addition to all the previous suggestions, add...Sorry, but we are short on time.  Why don't you plan to present your views to the group another day.

bopper

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Re: Presentation hijacked!
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2012, 02:16:50 PM »
"Excuse me, can you let me get through my presentation and then we can discuss that if there is time or off line if not?"

mbbored

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Re: Presentation hijacked!
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2012, 11:10:14 AM »
"Excuse me, can you let me get through my presentation and then we can discuss that if there is time or off line if not?"

This is what I've used during conferences and seminars.