when it all falls apart…

so let’s say that you are in the middle of your communication, whether it’s teaching on a sunday morning in church, pitching a presentation to a large corporation, or giving a graduation speech, and something goes wrong {your mic starts making funny noises, someone else’s mic makes funny noises, you start making funny noises, or someone does something VERY distracting} what do you do?  This is the dilemma of all communicators.  Nothing ever goes 100% right all the time.  Let me give you a couple of scenarios and then give some suggestions as to what you can do in handling them.

SCENARIO #1: so I’m speaking on a sunday morning during church and I notice out of the corner of my eye a commotion.  I continue speaking but I notice that the commotion is a group of people standing around an elderly lady who has passed out.  There are some who are fanning her off, some who are trying to lift her to her feet to take her out of the room, and some who are just being distracting by looking and whispering.  (it wasn’t a distraction to all b/c there are about 500 in the room)… what do you do?

SCENARIO #2: I’m speaking again on a sunday morning in church and all of a sudden there is a LOUD noise that seems to be coming from my microphone.  It sounds like a crackling, static noise.  Then, it happens for like 7 seconds straight.  I know that may not sound like a long time, but when you’re on a stage with lights blaring on you, and there are over 700 people with their eyes on you, it feels like an eternity.    what do you do?

SCENARIO #3: this one didn’t happen to me, but I’ve heard that it happened.  Let’s say you’re communicating to a large group of people and someone stands up and starts yelling and talking about you to the entire audience as loud as they can.  What do you do?

in case you were wondering, these things REALLY DO HAPPEN!

here are some suggestions to handle when things fall apart in communication:

1. stay calm.  panicking makes the situation seem and feel worse than it is.

2. ignore the situation.  sometimes the best thing to do is to ignore it and diesel through.

3. address the situation with humor.  I know this one is really based mostly on personality and how long you’ve been communicating, but sometimes the best thing to do is to make a joke about the situation to lighten the mood.

4. address the situation with seriousness.  Sometimes things happen and we need to stop, address the situation, and using as a teaching moment for the entire crowd.  SCENARIO #3 would be a perfect example to do so.

5. remember… it happens to everyone!

Whatever you do, don’t make the situation more awkward than it already is.  The more control over the situation you command, the more likely you will win the respect of your listeners.


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