Public Speaking Course:
Funny Question and Answer Sessions
In your public speaking course you will learn that question-and-answer sessions can be great opportunities to emphasize your humorous style and get your audience to participate.
In your public speaking course you will practice different ways of using humor to open up your Q & A sessions. You might say, 'The last time I opened up for a Q & A session, the first question someone asked was 'What time is it?' or 'Can I be excused?' or 'Aren't you getting tired up there?' Say anything except the old boring 'Okay now were going to open it up for questions.'
To be a good public speaker you must know how to be fun and different from the usual presenter. To prepare for your Q & A sessions, spend some time anticipating what questions will most likely be asked and create funny answers to use before your real answer. This technique is a lot of fun to use, but be careful not to sound like a smart aleck when saying it, or you might accidentally offend the one who asked the question.
When you give a witty response to an audience member's question it should appear spontaneous. You will need to be ready with well-rehearsed responses from your 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 actually mean that you should select one or more people from the audience 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 a certain fake question you give them.
Remember 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. The question asked could be what is funny or your preplanned answer could be the zinger. Both ways should get you a laugh from the audience.
If you got the president of the company to ask a really dumb question like, 'How much did we pay you to be here?', that could have a real funny effect on the audience.
Or it might be funny if you got one of the top salespeople to ask, "Do I get to take the company jet to my next sales call?" You will need to a lot of pre-program research to find out what questions might be funny to your audience. 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 humorous material is handed to you. All you have to do is apply it in the right place.
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 are uncomfortable about recruiting stooges from the audience or just want to have more control.
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