Unleashing Your Communication & Performance Potential




You’ve been invited to speak, you accepted the invitation, discussed the topic, the audience, and the occasion, and then the program organizer says, “At the end, would you allocate about 15 minutes to answer questions?” Without thinking much about it, you agree to it. As the day for the speech approaches, you begin to worry about what kind of questions may be asked of you and whether there is anything you should do to make the Q & A session work for you, instead of against you. Well, YES, THERE IS! That is the point of this month’s e-newsletter.


Here is a “Speaker’s Dozen” tips for shining at a Q & A session.

  1. Never end your speech with Q & A. Place the Q & A session shortly before the conclusion.
    Have you witnessed the sad spectacle of a speaker answering questions as the swan song of a presentation? “Are there any more questions? … No more? … In that case, thank you again for having me.” That is usually followed by polite applause. Instead of that, build the Q & A session as part of your presentation, towards the end of the body of the speech. Specify a time limit for the questions. At the end of that time, go into your planned, powerful ending. People tend to remember the last words that were said. Make those words memorable.

  2. Your most important asset is an empowered, positive state of mind.
    Just as for impromptu speaking, a positive, powerful state of mind will enable you to tap your internal resources so that your mind will work the way it is naturally able to, instead of clamping up with tension. As you prepare for your presentation, do not entertain negative, soul sapping thoughts. Stay focused and confident on your ability to give value to your audience.

  3. You, NOT the questioners, are in charge of the Q & A session.
    Mentally and Attitudinally maintain control of the Q & A session. The Q & A session is part of the presentation, and you are in charge of the entire presentation.

  4. Look at the questioners with goodwill.
    Your view of the questioners will affect your 
    tone of voice, body language, and choice of words. Choose to make that view a positive one… even if the questions appear to be hostile. Your continued calm, caring, and reasoned way of answering questions will create a sense of goodwill toward you.
  5. Always be polite to questioners.
    As the speaker, you are held to a higher standard than your questioners. If you insult a questioner, the audience can turn against you. Always keep your cool and refuse to be baited.

  6. Make sure that everyone in the audience hears the question.
    A Q & A session is not a private conversation. If necessary, repeat the question aloud so that everyone hears it or arrange for a microphone to be provided for those who have questions.

  7. Keep your answers brief and to the point.
    Answer the question as directly as possible and restrain yourself from launching into another speech. Keep your answers brief, thereby allowing as many people as possible to ask you questions.

  8. Be honest.
    If you don't know the answer to a question, say so, but refer that person to a source where they should be able to get an answer or volunteer to get back to that person with an answer.
  9. Break down a convoluted or multi-part question to a bite sized portion.
    Either ask the questioner to rephrase the question or you choose which part of the question you are going to answer.
    Q: “How much is this building project going to cost? How are you going to ensure that you will have enough students enrolled? How will you ensure that graduates will get employment?”
    A: “Since the new facility is going into a pre-existing building, the project cost, including equipment and special labs, is projected to be under half a million dollars. That has been budgeted and we are confident that our market research will be proved right and our admissions team will find the quantity and quality of students that will make this investment one that will pay dividends for all concerned.”

  10. Refuse to accept false assumptions on the part of the questioners.
    A questioner may purposely or in good faith make a false assumption and expect you to agree. Don't.
    Q: “So if the tuition is raised, we can expect to see a drop in enrollment, right?”
    A: “That is not necessarily true. Quite possibly other factors will offset the higher tuition such as new money available for students through grants, increased outreach by our admissions teams, and increased numbers of scholarships.”

  11. Set aside inappropriate questions.
    Sometimes a question is asked that does not relate to the general interests of the audience and is not directly relevant to your speech topic. In that case, you can offer to address the issue privately with the questioner after the presentation is over. There is another advanced “set aside” technique that you can learn via my article on How to Shine at Question and Answer Sessions.

  12. Always have a prepared statement with which to end your Q &A and Segue into the conclusion of the presentation.
    Wrap up the Q & A on a strong note and transition smoothly into the conclusion of the presentation. In order to do this well, prepare in advance, practice saying the transition statement into the conclusion and rehearse the conclusion so that you know it cold.

When you follow this “Speaker’s Dozen” Q & A tips, you will give added value and pleasure to your audience and have the satisfaction of a job well done!


Diamond Tip – Looking Good on a TV Interview


 Q: My wife and I are going to be interviewed in the near future on a TV show. Can you give us some tips on how to dress for the TV interview?


Dr. Dilip: Here are a few proven tips: 

  • Dress appropriately for the TV show. View past episodes and note the dressing styles of people who make a good impression on you.
  • Avoid shiny fabrics.
  • Avoid print (small stripes and checks) fabrics.
  • Solid colors look the best.
  • Don’t wear stark white, black, or strong red colors. They don't show up well on TV.
  • Blue is good color for TV.
  • Darker colors look more professional; medium hues look friendlier.
  • Wear socks that cover the calf so no skin shows when you cross you legs.
  • It’s better to err on the conservative side of dress.
  • Keep accessories to a minimum.
  • Don't wear anything that will take away from your message.
  • Do a final mirror check before the TV show starts.

Do You Want to Break Out of the Pack and Reach a Higher Level of Speaking Performance?

Then come join the Diamonds Club.


What a Diamond Club member Tony Crocamo says:


“Dr. Dilip’s Diamonds Round Table gives me direct access to a world class speech coach for a full hour each month from the comfort of my own home. I am able to ask questions, learn, and benefit from Dr. Dilip’s years of experience as a speaker on the international stage.  Every speaker can benefit from his level of experience, and now twelve monthly sessions of the Diamond’s Round Table, that’s 12 hours of top-notch speech training, costs less than most six-hour speech training seminars.”

-Tony Crocamo 



Dr. Dilip Abayasekara
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Dr. Dilip’s Speaking Engagements




March 4: 
Speech at Susquehanna Ice Breakers Toastmasters Club

March 7: 
Junior Leadership

March 7-8: 
Church Consultation

March 18: 
Speech Coaching – Business Executive

March 21-23: 
CHUM Men’s Retreat

March 27: 
Train the Trainer session. Local company.

March 28: 
Speech Coaching for seminar leaders.

March 14: 
Speech Coaching #4 for Seminar Presenters

April 4-5 + 6: 
Speaking Mastery Workshop

April 19: 
Be interviewed on 
Phil Taylor’s Radio Show

April 25 & 26: 
Training to be a 
M28 Coach(Phil Maynard)

May 16: 
Speak to Lead, workshop at 
Rotary District Conference

May 17: 
Speech Contest Judge at 
Rotary District Conference

May 18: 
Keynote at District 83 Toastmasters Conference

May 21: 
How to Add Zing to Your Presentations, 
Business Women’s Forum


For archived issues of this newsletter, click here:previous issues


Here is what you get from the Diamonds Club:

As a member, you will receive:

  • Free monthly video conferencing,known as Diamonds Round Table.  This will include short educational sessions on public speaking, communication or personal development topics and give you an opportunity to ask Dr. Dilip your questions about any upcoming speech or challenge, “meet” fellow Diamond Club members, learn from each other, and build an online learning community.
  • Receive anevaluation of any upcoming speech. Submit a video clip or script of a speech you are preparing to give. Receive expert feedback that will inform you about what you are doing well and receive practical tips on how to improve your presentation.
  • Discounts ontraining andcoaching programs and products from time to time.

You can hurdle time and money obstacles because for a low monthly fee, you can access all of the above 24/7! In order to make this valuable experience available for more people in whatever country they live in, I have reduced the membership fee by more than 60%! 

For more details and to sign up, click here.


Join the March Diamonds Round Table!

Open to all Diamonds Clubmembers and invited guests:

Tuesday, March 25, 2013, 8:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. USA EDT

It doesn't matter where you are because this is an online meeting!

Quote to Think About

“Any man who knows all the answers most likely misunderstood the questions.”


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