Please refrain from asking questions during the test.
How many questions can I ask at an event?
A. Only one, ever.
B. Only one, unless no one else has any questions, in which case you can ask two.
C. As many questions as you want. Your questions are probably better than anyone else’s. Even if the speaker is trying to cut you off, keep going! I mean, are other people even real? How can we know?
2. What about follow-up questions?
A. Better to try to ask the speaker afterward, or via email.
B. As long as you don’t ask more than three, it’s fine.
C. Everyone loves follow-up questions. Keep asking, even if you have to shout to get the speaker’s attention.
3. How long should my questions be?
A. Short, vague questions are best.
B. Short, but clear.
C. It’s ideal to tell a brief story about yourself first, so the whole audience understands how important you and/or your question are.
D. There are no limits. This is your chance. You must tell your whole story, so that the speaker understands you, and realizes that you are meant to be friends/colleagues/co-authors/soulmates. Bonus points if you burst into tears halfway through your question/story.
4. If I feel my personal experience is relevant, can I share that?
A. Oh, please do! Long anecdotes are much appreciated — not only by the speaker, but by everyone in the audience. I mean, they thought they were there to hear the speaker, but clearly your experience is so much more interesting and meaningful.
B. Yes, but only if the experiences you share are yours, and not the experiences of your mother’s friend’s stepdad.
C. Yes, but only if what you’re talking about is real, and not some crazy-ass bullshit about chemtrails, or big pharma, or whatever.
D. Oh lord, please stop.
5. Is my question a good opportunity
to try to explain how the speaker is wrong?
B. Not unless the speaker is talking about chemtrails, or big pharma, or some other crazy-ass bullshit.
C. If you offer lengthy commentary, with citations, proving the speaker is wrong, or that the speaker would be wrong if you were actually talking about the same thing, that’s totally appropriate.
D. If you can humiliate and insult the speaker, while offering personal anecdotes and expressing contempt for the whole audience, and, like, all the sheeple in thrall to them, then, like, totally.
6. “This isn’t really a question, but…”
A. Is this something that will contribute to the conversation, and that everyone in the room will want to hear? Really? Really really?
B. Then sit your ass back down.
D. All of the above.
7. “I have a poem that I would like to read…”
A. How delightful! Surely everyone wants to hear your highly relevant 6-page free verse discussion of how angry you are right now about all of the things.
B. If the speaker is into spoken word poetry, which you know because you stalked him/her on Facebook, then totally go for it.
8. There’s no such thing as a dumb question.
9. “Did you know that you misspelled
a word on page 36 of your latest book?”
A. You are the cleverest person for noticing, and the author will be super grateful that you told them publicly.
B. Perhaps the author will be so grateful that they offer to let you read their next book before it’s published — and even thank you in the Acknowledgements.
C. You are the spawn of Satan, and no one likes you.
10. You’ve known for weeks that this speaker was coming. He’s done innumerable interviews, he has a website and a blog, and there’s a three-page bio in his new book, which you were supposed to read. You have literally read none of that. Is it OK to ask the speaker to summarize their argument/novel/career?
A. All of the people who have studied this person’s work and/or field and have taken the time and effort to come are probably delighted to hear your inane question and the equally basic and pointless response.
B. You’re in the audience, too, so any question you have is just as valid as anyone else’s question, no matter how well others have prepared.
C. You are the problem with homo sapiens, and the reason why we are doomed as a species. Please don’t reproduce.