How To Handle Tough Questions And Disagreements In Your Presentations

Do you know that the number one fear in people is the fear of public speaking. It is ranked even higher than death itself. Speaking in front of people is already difficult, but how do you handle it when your audience throws at you challenging questions or even disagrees with what you say? What do you do when people start walking right out in the middle of your presentation?

As a speaker and trainer, I have my fair share of people disagreeing with me. When I speak at seminars or conference to hundreds of people at a time, there will always be that small bunch of people who will either say that they know it all or just cannot agree with me. There’s nothing we can do to them, but being prepared for such things is extremely important.

For most people, when others disagree with them, they tend to freeze and then fumble to get a right answer. Our brains are not naturally wired up to handle rejections and disagreements. Therefore, when this happens, a lot of people tend to blank out and not know how to react appropriately. In addition, when emotions set in, it is really difficult to give a clear answer to your audience.

Here are some scenarios that I have experienced before and hope that it will give you an insight on how I defuse potentially tough situations while maintaining credibility with the audience. Do note that the following is not rocket science but more of a way of doing things. It has worked for me and I sincerely hope that it will work for you.

1. A person stands up and disagrees with your certain parts of your presentation openly.

The first thing is to thank the person for their statements and then understand the reason behind the disagreement.


Firstly, we need to set a safe environment to allow people to express their views. If I were to thank a person for their views when they disagree with me, they will tend to be more relaxed and know that I acknowledge his/her views. The unseasoned speakers will tend to quickly disagree with the person raising their objections. This will make the person become defensive and find all ways to prove his/her theory to be true. This is unnecessary conflict we can avoid.

Secondly, I have learnt that if a person is disagreeing based on his or her experience/opinion, I will tend to allow and agree with that person. Why? This is because all our experiences in life are pretty much relative. I will usually say “That’s a valid viewpoint and you could be right. What I was sharing just now was based on what I experienced and found to be true to me.”

By painting a personal experience that I have personally found to be true and good, will quickly help others to know that if it works for me, it might work for you as well. Remember, experiences are never right or wrong. It is how we interpret the events and learn from it that makes it true.

Tip: Remember not to use absolute statements, eg. This is the ONLY right way to do things. You are actually inviting trouble.

2. A person asks a question that you do not understand.

It is best to ask the person to repeat the question or rephrase it. After that, you can also rephrase the question and ask this person whether you have understood the question correctly. This is a simple process but yet a lot of Asians tend not to do it. We tend to just jump into answering the question without fully getting it.

Here’s a simple phrase I use:

“I heard your question but I don’t get it. Would you mind repeating the question or rephrasing it for me? I will appreciate it.”

Tip: Clarity is important before you reply. Ensure you are answering the right question.

3. A person walks away out in the middle of your presentation.

We need to always focus on the crowd and allow a particular individual to affect us. Most people will tend to think that person particularly dislike/hate/_________ (fill in the blanks) their presentation and gets affected by it.

You have to remember that if the entire audience is still paying attention to you, we should not let a single person affect you. However, if you notice that more and more people start to leave, it is good to just ask what is happening. The worst thing as a presenter is to be oblivious to what is making people leave.

I had in a few times notice that people left and only to come back. This could because they had to take an urgent call or even need to go to the washroom. Take heart and not let it affect you. There are those who left and decided not to come back. The only thing I could do is to wish them well.

The Importance of Budgeting – Planning Your Financial Present and Future

Budgeting is about planning your financial present and future. It is one of the most important steps to take on your financial journey and is an integral part of financial planning.

Planning entails setting some goals to aim for in the future. Whether your goal is to save more or pay off debt, or perhaps both, you need to understand your spending habits.

In order to understand your spending habits take one of the following steps:

Research past bank statements and receipts. While this is time-consuming it is eye-opening…or
Record all of your spending over the next month or so in a small notebook. This means recording everything from bills to cash spending. Once again a surprise is likely to be in store.
Set your budget and include savings (for the future) or to pay-off debt goals (the present). A budget is not merely a spreadsheet that tracks how much you spend for the month and it is not just balancing tool. While both of these are both important, neither fits the meaning of living within a budget — your spending habits will control that.

Your present expenses are those that are needed for day-to-day living. These include essential expenses such as accommodation costs of rent or mortgage. It includes payment of debt and your utility costs as well as food and groceries. Some expenses are fixed in that they do not change each month while others vary from month to month. Having your present spending requirements fit within your income will mean living without getting yourself into uncontrolled debt. A budget is essential to know that you are living within your means.

Once you have determined how much money you have after paying all your essential monthly expenses, set aside a portion to save for your future expenses. You have no doubt heard the adage ‘pay yourself first’. The idea is to put 10% of all income into long-term investment for your future — this is considered the ideal percentage. Pay yourself as part of your essential spending and make it a habit.

Expenses for your future involve putting money aside for your goals: buying a house, saving for children’s education, holidays and retirement to name a few. Each goal will have an amount to save for in your budget. Open a savings account specifically for your goals and transfer a set amount to that account every time you get paid. Making it automatic makes it a habit and tends not to be missed after a while…and it will gradually build up a sizable sum. When you are ready to spend on your goal you will already have the money set aside.

The importance of budgeting is living within the limits of your income and sticking to spending goals. This can be very rewarding, emotionally and financially. Planning your financial present and future depends on a good budget.

“Presence” Vs “Presents” – How to Have a Creative Holiday Season

It is no coincidence that “presence” and “presents” sound so similar. What do you remember the most from your childhood holidays? The presents? Or was it the time spent in the presence of friends and family, doing things together to celebrate the season?

Radio, television, billboards and yes, even the internet, would have you believe that Christmas is all about the presents. Your worth and success as a parent is determined by how many packages are under the tree Christmas morning. Seems a little silly and sad, doesn’t it?

There are many ways you can cut down on the commercialism of the holidays and get back to what really matters – creating memories and spending time together as a family. Here are some ideas for having a less commercial Christmas season.

Plan Ahead:

The easiest way to have a memory-filled holiday season is figuring out what you want. What is important to your family? Do some research and pre-planning and figure out the big things. Will you be going anywhere for Christmas? Do you have commitments or traditions you need to plan for? Do you have family downtime built into your schedule? What activities and events are going on that your family would like to experience?

Next, have a family brainstorming session and include all your family- even the little ones can give you their input! Discuss different options for family activities and make sure you include something for everyone. Create a calendar together and put it in a prominent place. This will allow you to see what is going on next and will provide you with a reminder that you have things that are important to your family scheduled and it will make it easier to say no to things that do not fit with your family’s holiday plan.

Embrace the Commercialism:

There is no escaping the commercialism of the holidays. I saw my first commercial for Christmas-colored cereal on TV at around 10:40 pm, October 31; that’s one thousand, two hundred ninety-seven hours and twenty minutes before Christmas, or seven hundred twenty-one hours and twenty minutes before December. Your family would have to go on a complete media fast to avoid overexposure of holiday commercialism, and while that’s not a bad idea, you can also turn commercialism into a learning tool.

Even very young children can pick out holiday advertisements. It is never to early to discuss media and their messages with kids.

When you see or hear an advertisement, examine it with your child. What product are they marketing? What words do they use to make it sound really neat? What makes this product or version of the product different than normal? How much use or fun would you get out of a product like this? How much allowance would you have to say to get this product? Would having this product make you happy?

Children may not notice many of the marketing messages they are exposed to, but these messages can still influence them. Why not control HOW it influences them instead of leaving it to chance?

Every time your child sees or hears an advertisement, get them to point it out and keep score. This number will climb frighteningly fast. Decide to cut the commercialism by giving back. For every advertisement your child can spot and discuss with you, donate 10 cents (or whatever amount you like) to your family’s charity of choice, or put 10 cents away to help buy creative activity supplies. This exercise allows for lots of education and a chance to bond with your kids over the very advertisements that are promoting consumerism and commercialism.

Advent Activity Time:

Many families have an advent calendar for Christmas. Most of these are commercially-made cardboard calendars that contain rather bad chocolate. It doesn’t have to be this way! You can start an Advent Calendar tradition that will create great memories very easily.

One way to do this is to create advent calendar coupons – one for each child for each day of the month of December. These should include quality time coupons. Some might have to be redeemed that day, or others can be kept and redeemed whenever the child wants. These could be for things like playing a family game together, a day trip to volunteer at a local charity or a visit to a museum or other worthy ways to spend a day, one extra bedtime story, a special “date” night with each parent, making a favorite treat together, etc. You can give these coupons each day by themselves or with a single wrapped candy or piece of chocolate. You could mix lists of things you love about your child, or admire about them with the coupons. Each child is unique and it is important to let them know you see it!

By having a plan and identifying what is important to your family, you have the opportunity to create lots of memories and new traditions while giving your kids the best present possible: being present in the moment and enjoying the holidays together.

Top Tips When Buying Motorbike Christmas Presents

No sooner have you packed away your summer holiday things does the weather get colder all of a sudden, you start to see beautiful twinkly lights in shop windows in a array of colours, and that tingle of excitement is in the air.

You clearly want your Christmas your Christmas to be fantastic for you and your loved ones, so this article will help you out a bit with this tricky and sometimes delicate part of the festive season. It makes no difference if your significant other is into Alpinestars or Tiffany, there are rules you need to follow when buying them a present for Christmas to keep them feeling happy and loved on the day.

• Do your research – whether you need to find out those all-important sizes, preferred colours, or even to get basic ideas, you need to do your research. Obviously keep it quiet as much as you can as you don’t want your intended recipient to find out before, but ask trusted friends and relatives for that basic information and you can’t go wrong.
• Budget – Sort out your present buying budget before you start shopping, we know how tempting it is to just get carried away and start shopping thinking it’ll all be okay. It won’t. Make a plan of what you intend to spend on each person and also which pay cheques they are each going to come out of (it makes so much sense to do this).
• Use your memory – Never repeat presents, nothing says you haven’t really thought about it like giving someone something you’ve given them before, or(much worse) giving them a present they gave YOU three years ago. Keep a post-it somewhere with what you bought everyone last year and what they gave you, it’ll be a lifesaver.
• Think about meaning – sometimes people rate the thought put into a gift more than the actual gift itself. Really think about what means a lot to your special person: colours, dreams, ambitions, favourite places to holiday, favourite foods etc. Even if you really get it wrong, your recipient is much more likely to appreciate the gesture if he/she thinks you’ve made an effort and actually thought about what they might like. They’ll forgive you for getting it wrong.