What to do about the attention hog in the audience?
A few years ago I was moderating a session at a conference, and one of the attendees seemed to harbor a desire to be the main speaker. She piped up at every possible opportunity, giving her opinion at length every time. I could see that the other people there were tuning out, and the session was losing momentum.
The next time she spoke, I leaned in, nodded throughout her first phrases, and when she stopped for breath, said, “I love your enthusiasm about this! I want to make sure we can hear from many people, so I’m going to turn your question over to this person.” Then I reoriented my body away from her.
I know this may sound harsh. But I was in charge of the room, and I had to get the other forty people back in the game. By showing them that I was aware of the impact she was having on the dynamic of the discussion, I invited them to be more vocal. The session got back on track, and we got to hear a much more diverse set of voices.