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Handling Difficult Questions in Sales and Customer Service with Examples

How to Handle Difficult Audience and Their Questions with Examples using IDEA Acronym
-Handling Difficult Audience during Business Presentations
Thoughts and attitudes of a presenter is one of the seven vital elements of effective presentation skills. IDEA is a business presentation mnemonic that helps to memorize various types of audience in a corporate presentation.

A presenter can use the term "Challenging Audience" or "hostile audience" instead of "Difficult Audience" as the former phrases bring positive impression about the audience.

IDEA mnemonic lists four key types of challenging audience of a business presentation
Inquiring questions
Distracting audience
Expert
Argumentative audience
Inquiring Audience Question Types
Audience questions can be classified further:

1. One question after another
2. Question for which the trainer/coach doesn't know the answer
3. Irrelevant question
One Question after Another
In many business presentations, the presenter senses audiences who ask too many questions, one after the other. Perhaps, the best way to handle it is to remind the audience that the questions will be taken towards the end of the presentation. This can be done using polite phrases like, "Shall we keep all the questions towards the end of the session?" or "Ok, you have another question? Go ahead, but this would be the last question that will be able to take at this moment."
Questions for Which the Presenter does not know the Answer
There are two steps to handle these questions. first, the presenter can accept his/her ignorance by saying, "I am sorry, I do not know the answer". Second, the presenter can divert the question to the rest of general audience to find the answer by saying, "Can someone from the audience help me to answer that question, please?".
Audience who ask Irrelevant Questions
One the best ways to handle irrelevant questions is to put back the question to the audience by asking, "May I know how this question is related the subject?" and then ignore the question by saying, "If the question is not relevant, then we have to disregard it for the moment, please"
List of Distracting Audience
Audience who interrupt the presentation can be termed as distracting audience. for example:
1. Audience who takes many phone calls in between the session. Solution: In the beginning, presenters can remind the audience to switch off the mobile phones.
2. Audience who talk to each other during the session. Solution: A polite phrase like, "May I know what you discussing, if it is relevant let all of us talk about it."
Expert Audience
Expert audience are those who already know the subject of discussion more than the presenter. One of the safest method to handle expert audience is to involve them in the discussion. Nevertheless, the presenter should have the ability to control expert audience by bringing the expert to objective orientated discussion so that the topic is not deviated.
Argumentative Audience Types
These audience, who quarrel or disagree with the presenter, can easily handled once presenter divides the quarrel into two categories. One, quarrel on facts; two, quarrel on opinion.
• Quarrel on facts can be triumphed over by saying, "It is a fact, and I will give the source of reference after the session"
• Quarrel on opinion can be won by saying, "It is an opinionated topic and everyone has their own view"

Presenters' attitude is one of the elements of imparting skills (Presentation skills) which inturn one of the five i's of persuasion. Professionals like public speakers, corporate trainers and business coaches know how wealthy they become when they have good memory skills. And, mnemonic devices is one often used memorization technique as it takes a very little time to coin one. IDEA is yet anothe


r mnemonic and can come handy next time when a presenter is handling challenging audience and remember the different types of Audience during a presentation speech or public speaking.

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