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USE 'em, Don't LOSE 'em! How to Use "Q and A" to Create Compelling Presentations
By Nanci McGraw   Printer Friendly Version

The Facts of Q and A part of any presentation:

Fact: Some participants hang back, even when you encourage.
Fact: Some ask a question just to fill the time.
Fact: A few "ask" something, but really just want to talk.
Fact: Some questions are not relevant to the entire group.
Fact: Time can drag. Fact: Energy can sag.

Fact: People tend to love, what they help create.

A true professional handles questions with finesse. This is the proverbial "rubber meets the road!" Rev up your presentation with flow, energy, and relevancy. It is not a little presentational" P.S. ..Oh, by the way....any questions? Think of Q and A is part and parcel of every presentation.

Q. Why is Q and A worth perfecting?
A. Effective handling can increase sales, participation, and positive feedback! ---

-------------------- Here?s Nanci's Top TWELVE Tips:

1. Be in Charge. People really want you to be. Set it up at the beginning:
* Anytime you have a question, just jump in..."
* From time to time, I?ll ask for questions..."
* As you see there are 4 sections and I'd like to cover the content in each, and then at the end of each section, I'll ask for questions...."
* There's a lot to cover today, so what I would prefer is for you to hold your questions until the end..."
* Please write your questions on the 3x5 cards on your tables, and we'll collect them at the break and answer them... "

2. Be a Model. When you ask the audience a question, or if you open up for Q and A, always smile, speak encouragingly, AND raise your own hand to SHOW them what to do. It's interesting how many more people will be responsive, when your body says "ask" as well as your words.

3. Be Focused. Be specfic about what you'd like the questions to be about. This avoids "off-the-wall" or "off-the-subject" questions. It focuses the participants to think about the area you'd prefer to address at the moment.

*"We've covered ...and we've talked about...., now does anyone have a question about these two concepts....?"

4. Be There. As the participant asks their question, look at them, and LISTEN. Give them your focus. People like to know that what they have to contribute is important to you, and nothing makes them feel more included than your eye contact. Nod your head as they speak, or use your own facial expression to advantage.

5. Be Clear. Before commenting or reacting to a difficult or apparently convoluted question, use the skill of rephrasing. It gives the person a chance to clarify a point, if you misunderstood. And it gives you an additional moment to organize your answer.
* "So if I am hearing you correctly, you are asking...... Is that correct?"

6. Be Grateful. Always say "Thank you." And then REPEAT or REPHRASE the question, and when you do, look at the ENTIRE group. Rephrase the question in such a way that includes the focus, but expands the interest.
* "Jim is asking about.... but the answer here could also be for....."

7. Be Concise. When you answer, speak confidently and keep your answer as simple as possible. People love a concise description or example.

*"The question is .... The answer is NO! Let me tell you why... Here's one example and a comment....."

8. Be Ready. What if no one has a question? You don't want a lull, so in your preparation, anticipate questions which might be asked. Ask for questions, give them a moment to react, but after couple of glances around the room be ready to move on, or even better-- you could use the time to make another wonderful point to prime the pump.
*"While you're thinking, here's a question that often comes up....?

9. Be Cordial. If someone disagrees or objects:

* Acknowledge..."I can understand your point of view..."
* Agree...."What you say is true, however, there are some circumstances..." * Disclaim..."Some people think... and others feel..., here?s my opinion..."

10. Be Real. When you do not know the answer to a question: *Acknowledge..."I don't know that one..."
*Ask the audience...."Has anyone here had experience with...."
*Ask the questioner..."I have my own opinion,...and before than, I'd love to hear what you think..."
*Offer... "That's a good point, and I will find out..." (Then walk your talk!)

11. Be Hot. Save some stories, examples, case studies specifically FOR the Q and A section. You are the content professional. You know the kinds of questions that come up, so be ready and make the question really highlight your presentational skills. And big tip here: Finding a way to inject humor into your answer is a real crowd-pleaser.
* "Let me answer that with a great story..."
* "A client had that happen..."
* "Here's a case study for exactly your point...."
* "There was an article just yesterday in ...about this issue..."

12. Be a PROFESSIONAL. Save a "signature story," a perfect quotation, or challenge for after the Q and A. Here's a no-no: "Well, if there are no more questions, then I guess that's all, thank you." Nope, end with punch, and give them a lasting memory of your excellent skills and content.

People remember best what you talk about LAST. Don?t just leave ?em. If you do, they just leave. Leave ?em laughing, leave ?em crying, leave ?em thinking, leave 'em knowing, leave ?em sold, leave ?em MOTIVATED!

------ c/Copyright 2000 - Nanci McGraw.

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