But that’s not what this post is about.
Last week, actor Ashton Kutcher gave an acceptance speech at the Teen Choice Awards that has already become a YouTube sensation. While sharing inspiring words regarding what he has learned about life and success (cleverly couched within the frame of three counter-intuitive points), he faced a challenge that orators have had to endure and deal with since ancient times and up through the current crop of professional speakers, comedians, actors…and politicians (but, I repeat myself).
Interrupters. And, depending upon the situation, they must be handled correctly or the message can get totally lost.
Now, his wasn’t exactly the same challenge. For most presenters, these interrupters are hecklers whose intent is negative. In the case of Kutcher, it was just the opposite; a small group of young fans who were so enamored by the speaker himself that they weren’t as interested in the important message he wanted to share as in simply gushing over him.
But, that wasn’t part of his agenda. He had a message to share that he believed the young people in the audience and the millions of young people at home needed to hear; an important message; a message that could make a difference in their lives; and a message they are not used to hearing.
So, how would he deal with these, what I call… “reverse hecklers”? He simply ignored them. Like the larger-than-life persona that he is playing in the recently-released movie, he stayed so on point that his message could not possibly be ignored, nor could it be stopped. And, from a certain point on, he had the attention of the crowd. You could see it in their eyes. They were listening, they were captivated. They were “getting it.”
Yes, as a speaker or presenter, there’s a time to respond to interruptions and a time to simply speak through them. Kutcher had enough confidence in himself and his message to know that the latter was the proper course…and so that’s what he did.
And, brilliantly, at that!