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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

CommCore Video Blog: What Were They Thinking - Reputation


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How to Handle Difficult Questioners

In every audience, there are types of “questioners” – not just the actual question --  who can distract from the speaker’s key messages and have the potential to sidetrack the presentation.  Here are some tips on the different kinds of questioners and how to handle them.


  • The Detailer:  At every presentation, there’s a questioner who argues details such as facts and figures.  The point is usually minor; deal with it quickly and move on.  If you are sure of your facts, stand by them. If there’s room for disagreement offer to resolve the issue after the session.  The worst thing you can do is get into a debate; once you’ve offered to see the person later, bridge to the larger issue.  


  • The Filibusterer: Questioners who filibuster never get around to asking a question; they instead take advantage of the Q&A session to make their own statement or presentation.  Your response should be firm and polite to take back control of the room without alienating the audience by being rude. Handle a filibusterer by using a technique called the “Relay Race Baton Pass.” At the appropriate moment – usually after 25-30 seconds of their monologue – look at the filibuster, address him or her by name, and repeat a few of his/her words verbatim before bridging to the general issue.  Speaker louder and more forcefully as you adjust your gaze to the rest of the room.


  • The Negator: A negator uses the Q&A session as a forum to make a negative statement that is not really a question. Unlike difficult legitimate questions, it is difficult to answer a statement made by this type of questioner and the issue is often not relevant to the rest of the audience.  Ask the person if it would be possible to discuss this further after the session due to time constraints, and then bridge the issue back to the main topic.


  • The Supporter: A questioner who gives you a compliment may not seem like a ‘difficult questioner’ but it is still important to make sure that you handle it properly.  A speaker’s instinct may be to thank the person and move on but it’s important to thank the supporter for the statement and use the compliment to bridge to additional positive key messages.  


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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Four Types of “Grabbers” for your next presentation

The function of the opening is to grab the audience’s attention, clearly convey the basic message, outline the agenda and points that will supports the message.

The appropriate degree of the “grab’ will vary depending on the occasion and audience.

Here are four types of grabbers to consider for your next presentation:

  1. The Bottom Line:  When presenting to a Board of Directors, or decision making body, skip most of the fluff and start with a clear bottom line of the presentation. Think about the GPS in the car; start with your destination and then fill in the route for getting there.
  2. The Anecdote: Almost any anecdote such as a personal story with or smile or “ah-ha” – can do the job. The story can pull an audience in, especially among peers.  While humor is good bonding materials, which makes it a valuable ingredient in openings, avoid jokes because even experienced comedians fall flat on their face at least 30% of the time.
  3. The Prop: At a recent presentation about diabetes, the presenting physician opened her presentation with an old medicine bottle with a skull and cross bones in her hand.  The opening statement was, “We’ve come a long way in treating diabetes. Drugs are much safer than they were decades ago. There is now a treatment option for Type II diabetes with an impressive safety profile that I want you to consider…” The prop helped draw the audience into her lecture. 
  4. Use the news: When you start with a reference to a newspaper, magazine or on-line article, it immediately grabs the audience.  If the attendees have seen the article, they will start making connections to what you are about to say. If they haven’t seen it yet, but you provide a link, when the attendee clicks on the link later in the day, he or she will remember more of your presentation.


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