By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to add impact to the closing of your speech. Reading time: 3:27.
The most competitive runners know their overall performance depends as much on their cool down as their workout.
So too, the most effective public speakers know their question and answer session –their Q&A preparation– is just as integral as their speech to the overall impact of their message.
One enhances the other. One primes the other. One complements the other. And most significantly one creates the other.
Unfortunately, too many wanna-be leaders confine most of their preparation to their main speech and little or none to their Q&A. And the results are predictably devastating.
You know drill. We’ve all been there. You ask for questions. No takers. The silence is deafening. The energy in the room collapses. Your message falls flat. And your audience scurries for the exits.
Sparking a Catalyst
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
In fact, the most effective leaders can and do conduct more proficient Q&A sessions when they think of their speech as a catalyst, a catalyst that stirs a reaction in the audience — a catalyst that steers the Q&A into acting as a stabilizing solution.
As a catalyst, your speech sparks more engagement in the audience to understand your message. And they dissect it in the Q&A portion of your presentation.
As a catalyst, your speech ignites more interaction in the audience to study and act on your message. And they more fully understand it in the Q&A portion of your presentation.
As a catalyst, your speech prompts more probing questions in the audience to amplify and clarify your message. And they own it more completely in the Q&A portion of your presentation.
Engage Your Audience
Maybe that’s why during the Q&A, the most integrative, most persuasive Speaker Leaders engage their audiences in a dialog, in a discussion, in a collective understanding.
Together they build their Q&A session thought by thought, idea by idea –one atop the other, one intertwined in the other.
Together, the Speaker Leader and the audience partner to better relate to each other.
Together, the Speaker Leader and the audience better relate the meaning message to and from each other.
And together the Speaker Leader and the audience think of this collective, shared process as if they were making an ice cream sundae together.
Ice Cream Sundae Making
First, in the main speech, the Speaker Leader scoops the ice cream of ideas.
Second, the audience drizzles the chocolate syrup of their personal experience over the speaker’s ice cream so they can more personally own the Q&A.
Third, during the Q&A, each person in the audience figuratively selects and adds their own toppings — reflecting their own bias, their own preferences, their own taste –with their proverbial signature of sprinkles, nuts, and whip cream.
Finally, the Speaker Leader closes the Q&A session by adding a cherry to the top of their collective sundae, a cherry that captures the essence of the message in one juicy mouthful: a story, comment or insight.
It’s a cherry, specially selected, that tastefully juices the message so that it leaves a memorable, lingering and satisfying taste with the audience.
And an even more comforting cool down.
NEXT POST FRIDAY: Q & A How-To Part II
Focus on your Q & A session to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.
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