• Yasmine El-Baz

How to react to a speaker's stressful moments?

Despite the fact that it's important for speakers and presenters to learn how to gain more control over their anxiety while speaking in front of the audience, the audience themselves also need to learn how to respectfully react to a speaker's stressful moments.

So if you were in the audience seat, how should you react to a nervous speaker?

Don'ts:

  • Don't tell them to relax.

  • If they stutter, don't complete their sentences.

  • Don't show annoyance or disinterest during their talk.

  • Don't ask someone else to complete their presentation unless they asked for it, and when they do, give them time after being seated and try redirect the conversation back again to them by reflecting on some of the points they previously discussed, so they won't feel they completely messed up.

Do's:

  • Ask them politely to get back to their previous slide and tell them you have a question about it, this will give them time to breathe and will make the rest of the audience look away towards the slides.

  • Ask them if you can share an example that's relevant to the point they're explaining, this will also assist them to pull themselves together while you're speaking and get back on track.

  • Act as if you're a little uncomfortable with the room temperature, then ask the speaker if you can adjust it. This is also another way to give the speaker time to breathe.

  • Finally, if you are the speaker's manager, provide positive feedback right after they finish their presentation and delay any other comments for later. Also, give them more speaking opportunities in order to make them understand that you still believe they can manage it.

"I believe it's everyone's duty to contribute positively in each other's life journey. Adjusting your reactions to a person's stressful moments could have a huge influence on how they see themselves and their learning experience."
-Yasmine El Baz-
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