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Avoid the Q & A Trap

A brilliantly crafted and dynamically delivered speech can be ruined by the dreaded question and answer period. There is a surefire way to prevent that—hold the Q&A before you close your speech. Just make sure you have a prepared closing, one that is powerful, positive and memorable.

Here are just some of the disasters that can occur when ending with Q&A:

  1. The final question may be a confrontational one and you are forced to end your presentation defending yourself or your ideas. 

  2. The final question is boring and you can only answer with yes or no.

  3. Audience members begin packing up and walking out because they aren’t interested in others’ questions and don’t realize that you aren’t finished.

  4. The last comment your audience hears from you is this:  “Anyone else? Any more questions? Okay, then, I guess that’s it. Thanks!” Yikes! 

  5. Your audience remembers most what you say last (they remember second what you said first)!

Signal to the audience that you will take some questions before ending the speech.  For instance, you can say, “I’ll take 4 or 5 questions before wrapping up the message,” or “Before we wrap up we have 5 minutes for questions.” 

Another way to signal that the presentation isn’t ending with the Q&A period is, “Before we go any further, let’s take five minutes for some questions.”  It is a good idea to set expectations by specifying how many questions you’ll take or how long you’ll take them for—just make sure you stick to what you say. 

Don’t leave it up to your audience to decide how your presentation will end. They came to hear YOUR presentation, so don’t disappoint them.  Dazzle them with your powerful, positive and memorable closing. 

If you’d like to discuss more about handling the Q&A period, please contact Amy


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