Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Keep Your Juice: Learn to Handle the Q & A

How often do you hear the phrase --there are no dumb questions? It's true there are no dumb questions --but there are off topic questions, and if not handled properly could cause you to lose control of your meeting Q & A session. Once you've lost control or your juice, your participants may miss your "tasteful" takeaway message.

Andrew Dlugan, speaker extraordinaire and Six Minutes blogger, offers this advice:

Too often, presenters will say “This is getting off topic, but the answer is…” and then proceed to bore most of the audience. It is better to say “That’s a great question, but a little off topic. Let’s discuss that offline.”

Ok, lets say your team is handling the Q & A session. A coordinated Q & A session is vital to the success of your team presentation. Thomas Leech, corporate executive, consultant and author of How to Prepare, Stage, and Deliver Winning Presentations, writes in his book how a "program manager killed off his team's success by answering all the questions himself..." some may find that hilarous, but it's an indictment on poor leaders.

Leech advises team leaders to stage and craft the Q & A session before the meeting --outlining which questions or areas of expertise team members may handle.

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