If you are teaching materials in a training room environment, be on the lookout for “Stump The Chump”. “Stump The Chump” is a “game” in which one or more participants try to stump you, the Chump, showing the audience that they, not you, are the real experts, embarrassing you and inflating their own perceptions of themselves.
Left unchecked, Stump-The-Chump will, at best, cause you distraction, and, at worst, derail your entire presentation.
Care must be taken not to use excessive force on the Stumper, less the audience gain sympathy for him.
Phrases such as, “This is outside the bounds of this presentation”, and “Let’s discuss this off line” may work, but often don’t.
Here are some items to try when Stump The Chump breaks out:
- If someone asks two questions which you answered well, and then asks a third, they are Stumpers.
- With the initial outbreak, if the Stomper is on target, when done, ask them for their name (in a classroom setting, must people will have name cards), compliment them on their knowledge, and tell the audience to get their numbers because they – the stumper(s) – are experts and to call them
- When a subsequent question comes up from the audience, ask the Stumpers if they would like to answer that question. This is especially good when you don’t know the subject matter of the questions – you get to learn too.
- As you are presenting, ask the audience how the information is going down; then ask the Stumper(s) if they had encountered anything new yet? If they say yes, that’s a implied credit to you; if they say no, tell them, “Well, maybe this material is too basic for you and you should try another breakout session (or another course)”.
When you see Stump The Chump, take action; otherwise happy Chumping!