Taking questions is a difficult process because they require in order of apparentness- ingesting, understanding and discernment.

Let me share a lesson from two weeks ago, week 4 of the school semester.

"I do not think incentives and rewards can be a good use to achieve better performance."

We were roleplaying as managers in a corporate company, taking questions during Questions and Answers (Q & A). Q & A is sometimes a battlefield. It most certainly should be for clarification, and at school, it mostly doubles as a platform for assessment. And sometimes, its quiet.

Our group broke out in silence, to ingest the question and then we replied with reference to the presentation. I don't think we did understood the question very well, and our response was a repetition of the points we had already presented.

"...incentives and rewards..."

When class ended, we concluded that

  1. They are good in the short term
  2. They are bad in the long run
  3. It depends

Writing three weeks later, I realised that good presentations prompt people to ask good questions, but great presentations leave no room for the same "good" questions, for the content would be clear and doubts quashed. Quite like the art of persuasion.

Groups later, one charismatic speaker was able to sweep the class off our feet. At the end, there was a momentary pause. Could this student have had the fine touch of persuasion? Well, even he was not spared from the Q & A.

Does this mean persuasive presentations are great? Perhaps.

I'm putting my money on delivery with confidence AND also great humility. You have to encourage great questions, and sometimes that also means no dumb ones. Leave no bases unturned, and the critics with no ammunition.

We should sit in the audience for our own presentations, and try to pick ourselves apart.