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How to Avoid a Q/A Mutiny

by | Sep 17, 2019 | 2 comments

You give a great speech. And then you ruin this speech by handling the question/answer (Q/A) session poorly.

Your vision for your company, or your dental treatment plan, or your snapshot on new acquisitions get diminished as the Q/A spreads to eternity.

Ground rule: it’s great to have questions from your listeners. You have engaged them. But how do you keep this portion of your presentation from going off the rails? How do you stop your audience from talking, rustling and leaving…while YOU are still handling Q/A?!

Here is the secret to control and succeed with your Q/A: Tell your audience you will conclude AFTER the Q/A.

Our corporate clients get crazy when we tell them to do this. “That’s not the format we use,” they tell me. I ask, “Do you want to end with energy? Do you want to have the final word?”

We, the listeners, are anesthetized about Q/A. Over the history of speech giving we have grown very used to the Q/A being the final portion of the presentation. In order for you to get us out of our Q/A stupor you must start your conclusion by saying, “Before I conclude we have time for three questions”.

By saying that sentence, “Before I conclude we have time for three questions,” you inform us that this speech is not over. You inform us that you will stay in control of the Q/A. There will only be three questions! And you inform us that we need to stay focused.

Our next blog will give you great do’s and don’ts on how to handle and answer those three questions.

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Karen Cortell Reisman, MS, Executive Communication Author & Speaker


  1. Val Cronin

    Magic power of 3….
    Helpful suggestions – to avoid the situation where people start asking questions that are completely irrelevant to your presentation.

    • Karen Cortell Reisman

      Thanks, Val. Yes – this method will keep the speaker in control. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be hit with crazy, off the wall questions. Stay tuned for the next blog, or even others beyond that for how to handle the ego-driven questioner. Karen

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