How to Tell Someone to Sit Down and Shut Up

I need your help on this one. Recently, I booked a presenter for a symposium. This individual was one of several speakers. After sending several emails prior to the session, we were both under the understanding (or, so I thought) that his presentation would be 15 minutes of speaking with an additional 10 minutes of Q&A.

Perfect!  You can’t get any better than a quick and to the point presentation!

Until….(I’m sure you know the rest.) On the day of his presentation he talked for a grand total of 45minutes and then proceeded into Q&A.  Much of the presentation was off topic and he invited another speaker to say a few words. On top of that, there was a video. The audience seemed into the presentation –but it truly cut into the time of the entire symposium.

In my mind, I envisioned myself jumping up out of my seat yelling “SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP ALREADY.” But, I kindly sat there for most of the presentation.

When he was about to begin the Q&A, I had had enough – I spoke up and asked for us to move the Q&A to the end of the entire session.

Now, in Toastmasters, everyone is under the understanding that you have a time limit that must be met. If you go over, you will see a blaring red signal to tell you to stop.  But, that works for Toastmasters – what about business meetings, conferences, symposiums – when you’re outside of Toastmasters?

Here are some ways I thought I can avoid a runaway talker:

** Politely ask to move the Q&A to the end

** Start clapping & yell well done (Is this rude? Ha.)

** Honestly, I can’t think of anything else!  Help me, please! 🙂

What are some helpful ideas that you have found to get folks to shut up and sit down once they have talked past their time? (I might need to implement some of them!)

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2 Responses to How to Tell Someone to Sit Down and Shut Up

  1. chloe blackburn says:

    When the 20 minutes have passed and they keep talking I would suggest interrupting for a moment and announcing that you have to speak with the presenter in private for moment. When you get them to yourself, maybe just off to the side somewhere, tell them the time and say that you are getting concerned about the agenda of the meeting being thrown off. Also that you are concerned that the audience may not want to stay past the set-aside time of the meeting. Ask them if they can rap it up in the next 5 minutes and they are welcome back to do another presentation if they have more information to share.

  2. Marko says:

    Greetings, Great to see your blog is active, insightful and thought provoking. Like so many moments in Life, being proactive and not reactive can avoid “difficult situations.” Ultimately, all relationships depend on clear communication. “Say what you mean and mean what you say.”

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