June 2014
Volume 3, Issue #6

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Stop Missing This Opportunity

Choice Words

"Egyszer volt bud�n 
[egd-ZAIR volt BOOD-an 

This Hungarian phrase translates to "there was a dog market in Buda only once." It means you need to seize an opportunity when it comes your way, otherwise you'll regret it later.


That's true with Q&A. You generally don't get "do-overs" with this.

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In the Next Issue ...

How to Avoid Death By Podium 

How many times have all of us made a presentation to a client or a group and thought, "I hope they ask me the right questions."


You have just given away all of your power -- and you didn't have to!


Here are techniques you can use to make every question the right one, so you can get more of what you want.

-- Lynne
One of the Biggest Communication Opportunities You Are Missing

It's just as legitimate for you to have a reason to participate in a Q&A as it is for the people asking questions. Make this a discussion rather than a quiz. Come prepared with the three key points you wish people to remember. And while you don't want to dodge their queries, use these five techniques to ensure you get to share your messages.



This is the art of answering a tough or off-target question (or an easy question) and smoothly segueing to a key message. Give a short, honest answer to the question, and then either 1) ask another question-and answer with one of your points, or 2) move directly to your message. If you can't logically bridge to a key idea, then give the short answer and stop.

Bridging maintains a two-party dialog without ceding control:

  • "I don't know the answer to that question. What I do know is ..."
  • "It sounds as though what you're really asking is ..."


This forces your questioner to take in more information than he or she expected. You say you have three important points to share, and then make everyone listen without interrupting you. Number each as you say them. Only do this with questions that need a lengthy answer. For example: "We do this in three ways. First, ... Second, ... Third, ..."



(Not what you think!) Give people a taste of an idea to encourage the follow-up questions you want:

  • "You'd be surprised at what our research indicates ..." [What does your research indicate?]
  • "We've got some other exciting new services that will be available soon ..." [What are they?] 

Use this technique carefully. It offers the least amount of control -- because you have to hope your audience is following you closely enough to ask that right second question.



This lets you use language and your tone of voice to let people know you're about to share something important -- so they should listen up:

  • "Here's the most important point: ..."
  • "If you remember nothing else about what we've discussed today, remember this: ..."


Use this for the final question. The presentation shouldn't end just because people ran out of questions. Circle back to the key messages you want people to remember -- in addition to thanking them for their help and participation:

  • "In closing, let me leave you with these three ideas ...
  • "Those were excellent questions. In summary ... 

Don't forget your call to action. Tell everyone what you want them to do now that they understand the compelling case you've made. Leave nothing to chance (because that increases the chances you won't get what you want).


People Remember What You Said,
Not the Question

The first step is to determine your three key points before the Q&A. The second is to be so familiar with them that you can use bridging, listing, hooking and flagging to reinforce your points. And then summarize to make sure your audience didn't miss anything and knows what to do next. 

This increases the likelihood that people will remember -- and do -- what you want. Now you've capitalized on the true opportunity a Q&A offers.


About Wordsmith

Our mission is to create meaningful corporate and marketing communications experiences
so clients solve their problems and get what they want. 
That often comes in one of these forms: 

1) Group Workshops, Keynote Addresses and Speeches on fun and practical ways to improve business communication
2) Leadership Communication Training on message development and presentation for executives 
3) Executive Ghostwriting for people who need more hours in their week
4) An Outsourced Corporate Communications Department for those without a full-time need 
5) Special Situations communication plans -- such as crisis communications, mergers & acquisitions, facilities openings and closing
6) Working with Understaffed Communication and Marketing Teams at Fortune 500 companies

Lynne Franklin Wordsmith

2019 Glenview Road

Glenview, Illinois 60025





Do you have a corporate, marketing or financial/investor communication challenge or project? Spend up to an hour with Lynne -- on the phone or in person.  She promises to give you some ideas and tactics you can use right away. The two of you can determine if she's the right solution to help beyond this -- and if not, she will do her best to find someone who is. 
To schedule this, contact her at 847-729-5716 or