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I enjoyed Bizcamp Newry yesterday, though it was a long day for me.  One of the main questions I got of the day was about a gentleman who asked two questions during my Q&A.1. What time does this finish?2. I’ve learned nothing from your talk, tell me one thing…..It was a curve ball, a big one at that.  Like Mary McKenna said to me afterwards (to paraphrase), if you put yourself in those positions of public speaking then you are putting yourself in line for these sorts of response.There’s a bunch of ways of handling it.  First things first, he is entitled to his own opinion, he is also entitled to his free speech and if he wished to make his opinions known I’m happy with that.The key here is how to deal with it.  First thing I did was apologise that my talk didn’t meet his expectations. We can’t please everyone at the end of the day and I don’t make it my mission in life to please every person that crosses my path. The risk there is that the same person will expect you to jump high the next time.  One thing if it’s your employer a different thing if it’s a stranger. Secondly I rattled through the slides in my head and reassured myself that the slides did their job.I answered his questions in the best way I could and confirmed that he was accepting of the answers.  At the end of the day I can’t do much more than that.  Once happy I moved on. From there everything seemed easier.Sometimes these things come to test us, how do we and how should we respond can be two different things. I could have torn his head off but that would have been the wrong thing to do.  There are days a talk will go well and there are days we can stand up there and stumble on our feet in a grand manner.  It’s all part of the learning experience, we can choose to take something from it and move on or let it fester and cause us pain.”The Stage”, a platform that commands your attention is a strange place to stand.  In Hebrew times it was used as a place of judgement and in Greek times it was a place for entertainment.  Now the stage is both of these things combined.  You can entertain but if you don’t meet the expectations of those you intend to communicate to then expect the judgement to return at a rapid rate of knots.With 25 years of standing on stages with a bass guitar around my neck I’ve had my fair share of audient responses.  My favourite is still, “I thought you were shit”, which is fine but it looks like the other 4,999 people there thought it was good.

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