How to listen so that you handle the Q&A session effectively

In this excellent article, John Zimmer looks at the question and answer period in terms of listening.  He comes up with 9 excellent ways to handle this sometimes difficult part of a presentation, and covers listening as well.

An important aspect of public speaking occurs, paradoxically, when it the speaker’s turn to stop talking and listen to questions or comments from the audience.  These moments are to be welcomed.  They show that the audience members are engaged and they afford the speaker an opportunity to interact more closely with them.  To make the most of these moments, a speaker must listen actively.


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Active listening means listening for the meaning and feeling of what the other person is saying.  It means paying attention to what is being said and thinking carefully about how to respond.  This might seem like common sense, but as Mark Twain once said, “Common sense isn’t so common.”  So how we listen actively? Here are some points:

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