Question-and-answer sessions are great opportunities to show off your sense of humor, get audience participation, and make two powerful closings. Did I say two closings? Yes I did say two closings.
One of the biggest mistakes I see presenters making has to do with the handling of question-and-answer sessions. The presenter does a good program, has a powerful close, opens the program up to questions, answers them well, and then fades off the stage into oblivion. The lack of a second powerful close after the question and answer period could negate much of the impact that was created throughout the program. Make sure you have two good closes whenever there is a possibility of a Q & A session.
OK. Now let's see how we can have some fun. A good way to open up a Q & A session is to say, The last time I opened up for a Q & A session, the first question I got was "What time is it?" or "Can I be excused?" or "Aren't you getting tired up there?" Say anything except the old boring Now let's open it up for questions. To be a fun presenter you must take every opportunity to do something different from the norm.
To prepare for Q & A sessions you should spend some time anticipating questions and creating humorous answers to use before you give the real answer. Be careful not to sound like a smart aleck when delivering the humorous part of the answer. When a witty response is offered to an audience question it appears to be spontaneous, but as we learned in Chapter 9, you can easily be ready with well-rehearsed responses.
We hope you enjoyed this excerpt from the Wake 'Em Up Speaking book!