July 26, 2010

Are you a good audience member?

Most of my tips are for speakers, but from time to time I also like to encourage the audience to step up their "audience-member" skills. Here's a perfect example of how you, as an audience member, can help the speaker do a better job: Learn your Q&A etiquette!

These tips are from Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project website, and if you follow them, you will not only help the speaker, but will avoid annoying the rest of the audience. How's that for incentive?

Here are a couple of good Q&A habits mentioned in her list of ten:

Pause for silence – don’t talk over a chattering crowd.

Don’t be long-winded. And...

Plan it out. This will help you avoid being long-winded.

And my favorite:

Don’t ask double questions. Give other people a chance.

It is indeed the speaker's job to manage Q&A, as I discussed in this post, but as an audience member, you also have a role to play.

How many times have you sat in the audience while someone else droned on and on with a question that was only relevant to himself? Or told a long story? Or hogged all the time with question after question, not giving anyone else a chance to talk?

Do you want to be that person? I didn't think so. Be considerate, be thoughtful, be concise.

Now go read the rest of Gretchen's list. Great tips!

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2 comments. Please add yours! :

Anonymous said...

My biggest pet peeve is people who ask questions which have already been answered; either in the initial presentation or in the follow-up Q and A.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

I agree -- a good audience member also pays attention!

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