What Not to Do

You may have people asking you questions you’ve heard a million times, and this might cause you to speed through your rehearsed answer. Remember, this is probably the first time they’re hearing it. Slow down and be conscious of your pacing.


During the Q&A, one of the things I see that entrepreneurs do a little bit too often is they railroad their audience. Imagine a train that’s flying by at 80 miles an hour. Somebody asks you a question, and then you quickly answer the question, “[Rarararara], next question,” and somebody asks you a question, “[Rarararara], next question.” That’s really no way to keep rapport with an audience. It’s their first time hearing what you have to say. You may have heard the question a thousand times before, but this is the first time they’re asking it of you, so relax, slow down a little bit. You don’t have to speed through your answer so you can get to the next question. The important thing is keeping that rapport that you have with an audience.

Another thing I see people do when they’re answering questions is what I call the “gunslinger.” It’s like you have two six-shooters on the hips, and the first question that comes up, boom! Answered. And then somebody asks another question, boom! Answered. And guess what? Now you’re not going to get any more questions. Nobody likes to be attacked or shot with an answer that fast. Just as in the speed of your answer, slow down on how quickly you start the answer. Give people a chance to think about the question that was just asked, and you might find that people will appreciate your answer a whole lot more, and you’ll get more questions.

Suggested Readings

Founders School || Powerful Presentations: Mastering Q&A || What Not to Do || Impact Guide (PDF).

Questions for You

How am I responding to most of the questions I get from people?

Am I answering the most common questions I receive with humility and patience?

Do I tend to rush through the answers to questions without thinking because I have heard the question 100 times before?

Tools and exercises

Have someone from your team ask you a common question you get all of the time. Record your answer and watch the results to see how you can improve on the pace of your answer.

Have someone from your team ask you a tough question or one you do not have a ready made answer for. Record your answer and watch the results to see how you can improve on the pace of your answer.