Chapter 2. The Critical Dynamics of Q&A

To fully appreciate the importance of control in handling Q&A sessions, we must start by looking at the consequences of lack of control. Most presenters react to tough questions in one of two ways: They become either defensive or contentious.

Defensive

On April 19, 2007, Alberto Gonzales, the then U.S. Attorney General, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee as part of its investigation of his Justice Department’s firing of eight federal prosecutors. According to a Washington Post report of the hearings, Gonzales used the phrase, “I don’t recall,” and its variants (“I have no recollection,” “I have no memory”) 64 times during his testimony!

The Post report went on to describe Gonzales’ defensive ...

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