The Standup Trainer Newsletter
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Welcome to all new and continuing
In this issue:
Dr. Standup Answers Your Most
Pressing Presentation Questions
You are all invited to submit any presentation-skills-related question to Dr. Standup. (You are invited to submit any unrelated questions as well, but no promises on how useful the answers will be!)
You are also invited to respond to any question with answers of your own. (The Doctor is magnanimous and will publish alternative responses.)
And now, this month's question . . .
Dear Dr. Standup:
Last month you gave advice on what to do if a person in your audience asks you a question you can't answer. (Go here if you missed last month's issue.) I have a different (though related) question: Is it all right to ask the audience to hold all their questions until the Q&A period? But then what do you do if someone asks a question during your presentation anyway?
Stumped by Disobedient Audience Members
Of course it's perfectly all right to ask the audience to hold all their questions until you get to your "official" Q&A. The President of the United States does this all the time! Imagine what a press conference would be like if George W. allowed reporters to interrupt him with a question whenever they felt like it. Total chaos!
Of course, the President of the United States has help enforcing this rule. Stationed around the outside of the conference room are large Secret Service agents, ready to pounce on any rude questioner and propel them out the door should they dare to misbehave. Do you have bodyguards who accompany you to your presentations or training sessions? No? Well, then you'll have to do your own policing.
Option #1: Gentle ridicule.
"Well, well, I see that SOMEONE in this room did not put on their listening ears this morning. [Wagging finger at miscreant.] What did I tell you about holding all questions until the Q&A? HMMMMM?!?!?"
Of course, this option will only work if you yourself are an obnoxious boor who shouldn't be allowed to speak in public for love OR money.
Option #2: Reflect and deflect.
Say, "That is a very good question. Will you remember to ask it again when we get to the official Q&A?"
With this option, you come off as less boorish, but still somewhat condescending.
Option #3: Head them off at the pass.
In the introduction to your presentation, ask participants to write any questions they might have during the course of your talk on a post-it note or index card and put them up on the wall (or flip chart or white board) during the next break. (This is sometimes called the "parking lot" for questions and/or comments to be discussed later.) Alternatively, you can collect them yourself when you're ready to start the Q&A.
This option will get the best results, except under one particular condition—when the BOSS is in the audience and he/she is the one who interrupts you to ask a question. If this is the case, then only Option #4 will work.
Option #4: Grin and bear it.
Smile wryly, shrug your shoulders, and say, "Yes, President Bush? You have a question?"
Any other options? Send them to me and I'll publish them in next month's newsletter.
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