How to Regain Control of a Conversation or Presentation
You are in the spotlight. You know your spiel and you know your speech. You’ve prepared what you have to say, and then suddenly out of nowhere someone interrupts and takes over, putting you on the sidelines. In casual conversations or in board meetings being interrupted is never a pleasant experience, but it happens again and again. There are many reasons for this: lack of awareness by the one interrupting or a simple game of power play. Whatever the reason, it is good to handle these moments with as much civility and grace as possible. It may also take a few adjustments on your part. What you can do:
Strong Language versus Weak Language
We may find ourselves using weak language. Communication style is a tool that has to be used effectively and confidently. One weak but prevalent word we may find ourselves using is the word “just”, according to Bonnie Marcus, Forbes contributor. Using the word “just” undermines our own authority and makes us look as if we are unsure of ourselves. According to Jerry Weissman of Harvard Business Review, be conscious of your own use of weak language and replace them with power words such as “I’m confident”, “I’m certain”, and “I expect”.
Say it with Conviction
Your tone of voice must be confident. You must believe in and understand what you are saying. Use a tone of voice that matches the material you are saying so that you can effectively communicate the message to your audience.
Non Verbal Cues
Slouching and looking down on the floor won’t do when you want to make an impact. Be aware of your posture and exhibit a confident body language. Use hand gestures to reiterate your point. Instead of looking down, make eye contact, focusing on people will help you determine what they are thinking about what you are saying and if you have to make adjustments.
If you simply have to be interrupted…..
If, despite doing your best to manage the room you still get interrupted you can still deal with it positively. Engage the person in the discussion. Allow the person time to air out his opinions if you have to. Be respectful, then confidently take over when the person has finished. Discuss his viewpoints, expand on them. This sends out a nonverbal message that you are in charge of the situation.
If you are put in a situation where you simply have to finish what you are saying, be direct about it. Avoid being apologetic. Say it firmly and authoritatively without sounding arrogant or irritated.
Communication is important in the office. Through our communication style we convey our ideas and thoughts. Despite having good credentials, we may get passed over because of an ineffective communication style. We are partly judged by how we communicate and despite our good intentions; someone can ruin it for us. However, it is always us who can turn something negative into something positive. Take charge.