Never in my life have I experienced an audience like this one

tough audiences
I don’t remember taking this photo in May 2012

Never in my life have I experienced an audience like the one from yesterday. They were bitter, angry, pissed-off  and visibly displaying their disgust for my presence. WOW! Totally caught off guard. As a speaker, it’s my responsibility to be prepared for anything.

I was in virgin territory and simply did what I could to survive, and still feel, at the end, I could pass the red-faced test that I gave it 110%.

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By jeff noel

Retired Disney Institute Keynote Speaker and Prolific Blogger. Five daily, differently-themed personal blogs (about life's 5 big choices) on five interconnected sites.


  1. I like the image. The lighting and angle give it an interest look. A whole audience of soured grapes? All adults and not middle schoolers forced to listen during their recess and then having to write a 10 page essay due the next day? Their missed opportunity.

    Ultimately we can only control one person, ourselves. Who was seemingly controlling your audience?

  2. Still… It’s like blaming the butcher for over ripe strawberries.

    I hope your audience were still able to hear the wisdom in your presentation. Giving them some goodness from their terrible day. Poor group to have received bad news and then miss an opportunity to be inspired.

  3. I’m sure that as a professional speaker, you’ve needed to study “mob psychology”, and that probably kept you going through the battle. Do you present your clients with a pre-talk questionnaire to determine if there’s some “bad vibes” you need to be extra sensitive to — as a way of preparation?

    The look of exasperation on your face — almost desperation! “Is it almost closing time?”

  4. Wow. Luckily they were not after you personally. Sounds like you were in the unfortunate position of wearing a meat jacket and then placed before a hungry pack of wolves.

    Did you go running afterward to relieve any stress?

  5. Natalie, have never studied mob psychology. Sounds intriquing maybe it’s what I think of when I think of the herd mentality.

    And yes, asking about “the elephant in the room” is standard, and mostly unnecessary.

    The group was truly an anomaly and am so grateful it happened. Tomorrow’s post continues the story (I think).

    The photo? Interesting. It wasn’t from the classroom. Can’t actually recall. But it fit the post perfectly.

  6. David, in hindsight, they were never after me personally. Gotta tell you though, I was thrown for such a loop… couldn’t tell what had happened.

    Did the only thing I could… kept moving forward.

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