“Literally everyone in this stupid business has an A+ ‘crazy guy at the junket/Q&A’ horror story and I want to hear everybody’s right fucking now.”
While there are several specific instances of celebrities and audience members gone bad, the “worst of all crimes,” according to Kaila Hale-Stern, is “standing up and saying, ‘This is really more of a comment than a question.’ This should result in a guillotine being slowly lowered down from the ceiling, or at least some slime You Can’t Do That On Television-style.”
Check these tweets out:
So what’s a moderator to do when an audience member moves to make a comment rather than ask a question?
First, prevent it from happening in the first place! As you move into Q&A, share the ground rules with the audience:
My favorites are: Please start with a question. THEN share one or two sentences that provide background or clarify your question. Please, do not change the order or start with a comment – or I will firmly interrupt you and ask for your question.
Then, if a questioner starts with anything BUT a question, immediately interrupt and ask, “So what’s your question?” And if the questioner still doesn’t start with a question, move on to the next questioner. Your audience and panelists will thank you. (The one questioner probably won’t….unless he/she has a tad bit of self-awareness!)
BTW, you’ll have to decide if you are willing to tolerate the “Thank you for being here….I’m such a big fan” platitudes that most fans gush over first. 🙂
In this way, you won’t have to get the guillotine out during your panel discussion!