Questions and Answers Strategy

I gave a 60-minute presentation this morning for the Nursing Management students at Olympic College in Bremerton.  One of the questions was on dealing with questions and answers in a presentation.  Here are a few strategies to consider…

– Never end with Q&A.  I know you see it about 98% of the time, but it’s wrong.  As Patricia Fripp says, “Last words linger and you want them to be yours!”  If you leave Q&A until the end, you are subject to the quality of the questions.  That’s how your presentation will be remembered and if the questions are bad, it hurts your presentation. You want your carry-out message delivered with strength and conviction so your audience is improved.

Here’s what you do.  At the 10-minute mark of your presentation, say “Before I give my closing statement, we have 5 minutes for Q&A.  I’m happy to stay after to respond to any questions that we don’t have time for here.”

– Always repeat the question.  Many audience members may not be able to hear it and will appreciate it.  In addition, it gives you a chance to make sure you understand it.

– Be in the moment.  Listen attentively and try not to come up with a response in your head while the question is being asked.  It’s okay to pause after the question for reflection.  The audience wants the best answer; not necessarily a quick one.


Practicing What I Preach

I have been a lector at my church for the past 6 years and absolutely love it.  Two weeks ago, we had a lunch meeting with the priest and he asked us to consider singing the words “The Word of the Lord.”  Singing!  Now, I have no problem getting up in front of the congregation, or anyone, and speaking.  But, singing?  Even if it was only 5 words, I was intent on turning down the offer.

Last week, the lector at Mass accepted the challenge.  What do you know, a bolt of lightning didn’t break through the church and strike him down!  I realized that I was doing what I tell others not to do.  It was time to practice what I preach.

You see, it’s not about how YOU feel up there.  It’s about the experience of the audience.  If singing those 5 words delivers a more impactful message, then it’s about them, not me.  I did a little practicing and testing, and felt comfortable enough to try it on Sunday.  I’m here to tell you, nobody booed or threw tomatoes.  This was after all church, not open mic night!

Learn from my lesson.  Don’t be afraid to experiment or try things that take you out of your comfort level.  If it’s good for the audience, better delivers your message, and improves their condition, then do it!

P.S.  My singing will NOT be on You Tube!!!!




You may have seen or heard about this by now.  MSNBC host Contessa Brewer introduced the Reverend Jesse Jackson by the wrong name.  You can see Jackson seething as he’s called the Reverend Al Sharpton.  I found this on Alan Weiss’ blog and Alan made an excellent point about “being in the moment.”  Here’s mine…

Did she not read the copy before she started speaking?  Could she have done something other than throw her copywriter under the bus?  This is about being in the moment as Alan says. It’s also about being prepared.  It’s also about taking responsibility for your mistakes.  Have our television anchors, hosts, and politicians all become so dependent on scripts and teleprompters that they are not focused on us?

Have you become so dependent on your proposal, your speech, your notes, your outline, your report, that you are not focused on the job at hand?

Take a lesson from Ms. Brewer and focus on what’s in front of you…

How Do You Communicate Your Message?

If you’re in business, you know one of the base fundamentals for success is developing your brand.  Once you’ve got a brand, you have to make sure people know about you.  In today’s technologically adept world, it’s easier than ever.  The question is, are you doing it?

It’s very easy to get wrapped up in social media and technology to the point of it being a time dump.  As I sit here and type out this blog, I already know my marketing strategy for it – Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Plaxo.  Most of these sites are inter-related so when I post to one, I post to all.  A huge time saver.

Are you utilizing You Tube?  If you’re like me, you are a visual learner.  I enjoy watching people on video, whether its a training or a testimonial.  What can you do for your business to promote your services and provide value?  It’s free and it’s viral.  What are you waiting for?

Bottom line – if you are in business, you need people to understand how they can be improved by your services, advice, or work.  People still buy on trust and need.  The more you can disseminate your message to more people in varied ways, the more opportunities you will have to help them.

How do you communicate your message?