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October 30, 2019


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If I was the moderator at an event like yours I would say at the start of the QA session that we will only entertain one question per person per speaker to give more people a chance to ask questions. A lot of the time they're only asking questions to hear the sound of their own voices anyway, not because they care about the answer.

It was ever thus, Gerry. And actually, I accept that function of the Q&A—to let audience members have a moment to say their own thing on the topic. A speech IS a community experience, and "I have a comment and a question" is OK with me (and we pray that the comment is germane).

But two questions, no—especially now that it seems to be becoming a fashion thing. "Did you hear Fred, during the Q&A? HE GOT THE MIC AND ONLY ASKED ONE QUESTION. WHAT A CHUMP!"

Good point about the community experience. I have, however, cringed when seeing certain people coming to the mic, but I was consoled by knowing that others were cringing too.

I once had the temerity (or was it sympathy for the audience!) to tell a notoriously long-winded dialogue dominator that he would be allowed to attend my conference only if he promised to remain mute during the Q&A. He agreed.

I'm OFTEN torn, during my conferences, between wanting to give everyone a chance to be heard (especially, after all, members of the silent profession at their one annual platform!) and wanting to end, for the rest of the audience, a social hostage situation.

I don't envy that element of your professional life. Other parts, maybe....

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