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What to do if your speech is ‘rudely interrupted’ – a lesson from the Alan Joyce #pieing

The pie-in-the face interruption of Qantas boss Alan Joyce’s speech is a good lesson in how to react (or rather not react) if you ever find yourself interrupted during your speech.

Pie joyce 59114bad62c88_498newjoycesplash

You can find a link to a longer explanation of the incident below.

I have no connection to Joyce or Qantas – yet I study reports of this incident with great interest. I have trained other business leaders and politicians in how to react in similar circumstances and Joyce’s reaction showed the ‘textbook’ technique for handling an incident like this.

The normal reaction for many people (including me) would be to swear or look embarrassed or even take a swipe at the ‘offender’.

Now, for anyone getting a surprise pie in the face there would be an initial shock.

I’m not saying Joyce has been through special training – but his reaction seemed to show  ‘textbook’ tactics. Many CEOs and business leaders put themselves through simulated situations and have their natural reactions and facial expressions videoed and get feedback on how to have ‘strategic non-reaction’.

From  my experience, leaders are instructed to:

  1. after the initial shock – pause – take a breath – and control your urge to swear or hit back. It’s about developing reflex responses of calm non-reaction physical or verbal!
  2. be polite to your audience – apologise for the interruption (even though it’s not your fault)
  3. If necessary, get cleaned up as quickly as possible and carry on. Don’t present with a distracting mess on you. Let your audience know you’ll be back in a minute. Try to get back as soon as possible. You don’t have to change all your clothes – just clean your face and maybe your jacket. (leaders should have helpers ready help with the rapid clean-up)

You can actually win the respect of your audience – even a hostile audience – by showing composure under pressure – and the ability/determination to carry on.

I understand that Joyce is an unpopular figure to many Australians. I’d be keen to hear your reaction to him – on how, regardless of your opinion of him, you think he handled this incident.

Here’s a link explaining the event. You can see how his reaction seemed to follow the textbook tactics above.




One comment on “What to do if your speech is ‘rudely interrupted’ – a lesson from the Alan Joyce #pieing

  1. doubleshot media
    October 25, 2017

    Reblogged this on doubleshot media and commented:

    “Prepare for the Pie!” -when you are presenting – just in case. Develop and practise a ‘reaction’ to be ready to deal with this sort of ‘attack’.

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This entry was posted on May 9, 2017 by in Uncategorized.
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