Q&A is not the time to make a speech
A few weeks ago I went to Stanton Library in North Sydney to hear author Alexandra Smith give a presentation about her recently published book, The Secret, a book about former New South Wales Premier, Gladys Berejiklian.
Smith fielded questions after the presentation.
One questioner rose from his chair with a A4 pad of paper in hand. (Always a worrying sign). The man rambled for over 60 seconds repeating his question three to four times interspersed with free association commentary.
My view is this…
A Q&A session’s purpose is to give as many audience members as possible, time to ask a question. The rambling questioner cut into the Q&A time for other participants.
Own the Conversation
During a Q&A session this is what I suggest:
- That you don’t use the time to make a comment.
- Don’t wait for the Q&A session to prepare your question. While the presenter is speaking and a questions comes to mind, write them down.
- When asking your question aim to speak for a maximum of 20 seconds.
- Stop speaking after you ask the question.
- Don’t ask a follow-up question to the presenter’s answer to your first question.
p.s. This post When you open Q&A – never use this question might interest.