One of the things that we have to be aware of when we’re training, speaking and presenting is those left-field events and those completely unexpected events that happen sometimes .
I’ve been traveling around Lithuania and Latvia for five weeks and eating a lot of beetroots; beetroot soup – hot and cold, Borscht Soup, which is a Russian soup containing beetroot, beetroot salad, beetroot risotto and so on.
One day, I ordered a beetroot salad and to my surprise, there was some pickled fish (probably pickled herring) within the beetroot.
I don’t like fish.
So, I’ve got this beetroot salad that I’ve paid for and it’s got fish in it. It was completely unexpected, surprised, out of the left field and I had to deal with it.
I wanted to be polite. I didn’t want to be disrespectful, and I was informed that this was a specialty of the region, beetroot salad with pickled fish.
So when you are speaking, when you’re training or facilitating, if you get a difficult question, an unexpected question or a question that comes from left field, you need to deal with it. You may get a group of people who don’t agree with your basic premise, your basic underlying principle that you’re teaching them. You have to be ready for that. You may quote some statistics or some data or some reputable sources such as Harvard University and someone may say that “I don’t believe those statistics and I don’t believe that research. I’ve seen other research that shows the opposite.”
I guess what I’m saying is that in my case, the fish unexpectedly jumped out of the beetroot salad. I’m not used to having fish in beetroot salad and I had to deal with politely and respectfully.
What’s going to jump out at you when you’re speaking, when you’re training, when you’re delivering a workshop. It is your ability to respond and to prepare for those fishy situations that will make sure that you remain calm, confident and credible in the eyes of your audience.
What are you going to do the next time some fish jumps out of your beetroot salad?
If you would like to learn more about public speaking, difficult conversations, presentation skills or responding to situations off the cuff, speaking off the cuff, we have a range of communication skills workshops coming up in Darwin this October! See links below for more details!