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What do I do when...

What do I do when ...

I’m heckled?

June 5, 2013
By Christine K. Jahnke

I’m heckled?

First Lady Michelle Obama was confronted by an activist at a fundraising event who repeatedly interrupted her talk.  The crowd was with the First Lady when she said either the heckler could keep talking or she would.  But, not both.

Here’s how you can handle an unpleasant audience member.

What Will Work:

  • Stay calm – take a breath.
  • Keep your facial expression neutral.
  • Maintain a conversational rate of speech.
  • Ask the audience for their support.
  • Event host should step in.

What Won’t Work:

  • Arguing, scolding, or ridiculing.
  • Saying shut up.
  • Anger or defensiveness.
  • Yelling or tears.

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