13142: Please! Just Ask Your Question!

Hey there, hero!

I apologize in advance for this episode.

Not really, but kinda.

I just got off a very difficult Zoom Q&A session, with hundreds of people in attendance, most of which had had questions and had absolutely no idea how to behave in that situation.

I have thoughts.

And advice.

And I need to vent.

Once you watch the video, let me know…was I too harsh?? Hit me up in the comments below.

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  1. I love this. And I would say the same to the people running sessions like this. It takes so long to get through the introductions and introductory remarks, that I often turn these things off and look for a written answer elsewhere. I’m so grateful when someone gets to the point, and talks about the meat of the issue right away – a sentence about “this is what we’re going to be talking about,” and then talk about it!

  2. I have often experienced this in acting classes: the participant feels that it’s a forum to identify themselves at length, rather than get on with the exercise. Keep on point! You are not here to be appreciated.

  3. Being brief also helps the listener understand the question and answer….you brain isn’t trying to filter through mounds of dialogue.

  4. David,
    I am laughing my butt off here. You went almost 8 minutes to explain the situation and give actionable reason for the request to be concise. It needed to be said and will need to be repeated for the sanity of us all. And yet, 8 minutes…I hope it got through because you are probably going to go back and view this and get a laugh as well.
    Have a terrific Tuesday,

    1. This is my podcast, with NO attendees joining at a particular date and time, not a high-attendance Zoom call with lots of people waiting for a few minutes of question-and-answer time, each with perhaps lots of those questions. There’s a huge difference – you can spend as much time here asking your question (or giving your comment), and I’m not laughing at all nor will I be. I’m going to be braving another one of these Zoom calls tomorrow night and going to be trying to last as long as I can – the information (and questions) are essential to our future success as actors.

  5. I can feel your passion about this subject David, and I have often had similar thoughts when doing actor events/seminars/Q&A on Zoom. I actually get a headache sometimes because it’s so annoying how people can’t follow simple directions. I’ve been on Zoom sessions where the speaker told actors to say, “Hi (speaker’s name)! My question is….” and they still couldn’t follow that simple direction.

  6. Oh, the humanity! I grok your frustration, David. Large groups on Zoom sessions tend to be lemmings: if one questioner is given leeway to wax thankful or meander, that can set the tone for questions thereafter. Too bad there’s no buzzer or gong by which to nip such in the bud. The Host could issue a warning upfront. Or be the cut-off buzzer via: “NEXT!!!” May come off as rude, but it’d tamp down frustration & verbosity may cease.

  7. David, THANK YOU for this. Everyone should pay attention to this advice. Also, could you please also remind people that everyone can seem them and usually wearing clothes is essential during a zoom call? I attended your awesome SAG Foundation IVR VO lab last week … not sure if you realize it, but one of the participants was in the bathroom and gave us full-frontal during your presentation. I could have lived without that 😉

  8. You are 100% right about this. You are also an excellent communicator. People should absolutely learn how to ask questions succinctly in general, but especially in public situations. I think the reasons vary for why people don’t do this. You touched on some of them in this video. Another reason could be that external processors don’t always know what they’re trying to say until they verbally work through it. A zoom call is not the place for them to do that. I’m glad you brought this issue to the light!

  9. I don’t think you were being too harsh. When someone says that they just need to vent, listeners should expect some fireworks, and know that it’s not personal. I do think that a simple “thank you” from the modertator of a meeting is appropriate , followed by a click on the next questioner, and will not bog down the flow. (Succinct enough? ;-).

  10. Amen! Most Q&As drive me nuts. It sucks up so much time and yes, decorum and just simple comportment goes out the window. I can’t understand the part of our brain that compels us to tell our life story and just talk, talk, and talk instead of – Asking. The. Goddamn. Question. LOL

  11. Yup. Zoom calls with actors asking questions make me insane. I did a two-parter recently where they let actors ask questions throughout the session, and the presenter couldn’t get through their own material. They wised up and kept everyone muted for the second session. I understand a presenter wanting to be generous by answering questions, but unfortunately actors often aren’t conscious of how much they derail Q&As. Thanks for actually saying it. Maybe it will inspire moderators to find better ways to do this.

  12. ABSOLUTELY. Thank you for this! This drives me bonkers.

    I did a group coaching program with author Jen Sincero, and she was masterful at getting people to get to the point. They’d preface with SO MUCH extraneous info…and she’d just calmly interrupt and say “What’s your question?”

    Also, after seeing a guest on a workshop give a HALF HOUR introduction about his entire past in the biz, I now have a podcast, and we put a timer on for 60 seconds and have our guests give us their background in a minute or less.