Handling Aggressive Behavior

Presentations usually have a question and answer session. It’s the chance for the audience to ask questions and clarify what you presented. It’s also a way for you to interact with these people and determine if they listened to your presentation. You might be able to answer some questions, while others might be too difficult. The problem is when you encounter someone who has an aggressive way of questioning. It might feel like the person wants you to fail. These are some tips to handle those types of people.

Don’t assume the worst

The people in the room are strangers to you. Whether they’re listening for information or investors waiting to spend money on your ideas, you don’t know who they are. Therefore, it makes no sense for you to assume that they’re aggressive or they’re trying to make you fail. Treat them like everyone else and respond to the question to the best of your ability.

Be knowledgeable 

Never present unless you’re certain about your presentation. You will look like a fool if you can’t even answer basic questions or if the answers were part of what you just presented. Know your topic by heart and you won’t worry about anyone asking questions, regardless of their manner.

Go back to your visual aids

If you decide to use visual aids for your presentation, they’re not only useful while you are speaking. They can also help a lot once you go to the question and answer session. Sometimes, you forget things, so you need to refer to your slides to get the answers. It also helps if the room has an AV wall mount so you can easily open the slides and avoid having technical issues. 

Stay calm

You’re not in a debate tournament or inside the government to deliberate laws and policies. You’re presenting ideas. Your goal is to convince the people in the room that you know what you’re saying. There’s no point in being aggressive in your response. Keep yourself calm and collected. It will also be easier to respond when you have a relaxed mind. 

Don’t take it personally

If you’re presenting to investors, their goal might be to test you and your ability to stay composed under pressure. You can’t take things personally. Otherwise, you will feel offended. You’re in a business meeting or a public presentation. Everyone means business. If you take things personally, you will get distracted and not find the right words anymore. 

Be grateful

Always thank the people asking questions. It doesn’t matter how the delivery was. Asking questions is enough to show that they care about your presentation. You would rather have aggressive questions than not having any questions at all. Don’t forget to say thank you after each question. 

Hopefully, the people in the room will be more compassionate about how you feel and be nice. If not, you still need to face them with courage and pride. You can’t let anything prevent you from achieving your goals.