Funny Question and Answer Sessions
Question-and-answer sessions can be excellent opportunities to show
off your humorous style and to get audience participation. Let's see
how we can have some fun with them.
As you will learn in your public speaking course, a good way to open
up your Q & A sessions 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.'
Part of being a good speaker is to be a fun presenter that takes every
opportunity to be different from the norm. To prepare for your Q &
A sessions you need to spend some time anticipating what questions will
be asked and creating humorous answers to use before your real answer.
While this technique is fun to use be careful not to sound like a smart
aleck when delivering the humorous part of the answer, or you might
offend the one who asked the question.
When a witty response is offered to an audience question it appears
to be spontaneous, but you can easily be ready with well-rehearsed responses
from prior planning. If you want to take more control of the humor used
in a Q & A session, you can easily do that too. Here are two solid
methods that I use all the time.
The first is to plant stooges in the audience. The second is a variation
on an old standby Q & A method.
When I say that you should plant stooges in the audience, I usually
mean that you should select one or more of the audience members to help
you out with the audience gag. You contact these people either by phone
when you are doing your pre-program research or during the time you
are schmoozing with audience members before the program. You simply
ask them for some help during the talk. If they agree, tell them to
raise their hand during the Q & A portion of the talk. They will
be asking the fake question you have given them.
The question itself could be funny or your preplanned answer could
be the zinger. Either way should get a laugh from the audience. Here's
the hard part. You must supply the question. The more customized it
is to the group, the better it will be, and mastering these skills in
your public speaking course will make it special.
It might be funny if you got the president of the company to ask a
really dumb question like, 'How much did we pay you to be here?'
It might be funny if you got one of the top salespeople to ask when
they get to take the company jet to their next sales call. Who knows
what might be funny to your group? I sure don't.
I will give you a little hint though. The answer to what might be funny
to the group you are addressing will most likely come to you while you
are doing your research on the group. That is another reason why your
pre-program work is so important. Sometimes all the humor is handed
to you. All you have to do is plug it in.
If you want even more precise control over the humor used in the Q
& A session, you can use a very common Q & A technique. Solicit
questions from the group to be submitted on 3-in. x 5-in. cards. All
you have to do then is slip in a few fake ones. That way you get to
be in control of reading both the question and the answer. This would
be the way to go if you had worries about your stooges performing well,
or if you didn't recruit any stooges.
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