A typical practice in keynote or executive speeches and town halls is the Q&A session. I’ve got no problems with questions (and answers!) but I dislike watching a messaging session end with soliciting them.One I saw last week ended something like this:Exec: “Well, we have about 10 minutes, do you have any questions?”Silence.“Surely you have some questions.” (well maybe they don’t, boss, and don’t call me Shirley)Front Row Freddie asks a question. Exec rambles for 5 minutes about things unrelated. Returns to solicitation:“Any more questions?” (silence)“What’s wrong with you folks? I’m giving you a chance to ask me anything! “A rabbit trail chased. Another plea:“We’ve got time for one more. Anyone?”None asked. So the statement:”I’m going to close then. That’s all I have to say.“And 2 minutes 24 seconds later, he did, finally, quit.I’m not against Q&A. Not even a time for Q&A. But don’t end with it. Folks who don’t have questions resent being held. The time is usually dominated by a few folks, and the rest lose interest. Quickly. Therefor the lasting impression is not one associated with the message and call to action, but in a non-engaging degenerative slide to nothing. In less formal settings (conferences) people begin to leave, and often the Q&A ends with just a few people (usually the ones asking questions). Instead, put questions in the middle, or take them throughout.
End with a statement of value and action, not a waning interest in questions and answers.