NO Questions - Toast
of the Town or . . . Burnt Toast?
by Trish Green
published Sales & Promotion
Magazine December 2000
true, one thing every Q&A needs ó questions. Itís psychological. NO questions could mean you were so successful
in communicating your message that there are NO questions (Toast of the Town).
On the other hand, it could mean you have confused them so completely they do
not know what to ask (Burnt Toast).
make a big deal out of NO questions it seems like you have failed.
Presenters Welcome Questions
Many presenters dread Q&A ó
understandably so. Itís hard to control a situation when someone whoís
having a bad day takes it out on you. Or perhaps some political animal is trying
to look smart at your expense. Both situations happen, but donít let that
prevent you from getting valuable feedback. Encourage questions from your
audience if time or format permits, and be prepared to answer them.
are a sign of your effectiveness. They provide an opportunity to:
a Presentation to Suit Audience Needs
Respond by restating your main points
using specific examples that apply to your audience.
Show Sensitivity In
carefully while the questioner vents. Paraphrase what they have just said,
and how they feel about it, without being condescending
probing questions to try to find out what the real issues are
using one of the following statements:
I know what your concerns are, now let me respond
problem solve together to work this out
look into this after this presentation has concluded
In using this approach you indicate that you value their thoughts and feelings.
The audience will respect you, and you will diffuse the hostility at the same time.
Clarify a Point That
Might Otherwise Remain Vague
Often we need to hear a point more than once to understand it. Sometimes it just
needs to be re-phrased. Questions allow you that opportunity.
Gauge How Well You Present Your Material
reflect how well your audience received your message. If we are repeatedly asked
the same question, perhaps we need to re-think how we are presenting the
material. Maybe it is not as clear as we thought or perhaps more information is
- Transition into Q&A by
asking yourself a question before you open it up to the group
Before I take your questions, let me answer one of
my most frequently asked
Plant a question ó be
sure it is with someone you can trust
a question you were asked privately by an audience member
written questions in advance
the audience a question ó involve the audience in a non-threatening way
ó survey style, show of hands
How many of you think . .
to take questions privately, if topic is sensitive
with strength - transition from your final question into a strong closing remark. You can
restate your main points, tell a story, share an appropriate quote, or use
humor. Remember to leave your audience with a positive, lasting impression
of your presentation.
presentations/meetings ever run without any questions. With adequate preparation
and by maintaining professionalism, you can convert a difficult situation into
an opportunity to build credibility. In
preparation for your next presentation consider . . . how will I overcome NO