Winning the Q&A Game: How to Keep Cool and Keep Control

Pre-Conference Session | Wednesday, June 7, 2023 | 2:15 – 3:15 PM (A la carte: $39 for Members | $89 for Non-Members) 


People have questions for today’s school leaders – frequently uncomfortable questions. And those questions may come from an education reporter, parents at a board meeting or an acquaintance who stops you in a parking lot. Are you prepared to tell the truth – fast, before the falsehoods fill up Facebook? Will your answers be consistent with your district’s messages? Will you know how to protect your district’s reputation – and your reputation?

Course Overview

This one-hour interactive workshop, including mock interviews, will help you prepare for any situation involving a Q&A. Thom Fladung, managing partner of Hennes Communications in Cleveland, Ohio, and a 33-year veteran of daily newspapers, emphasizes practical instruction, pragmatic tips and best practices that you can put into play immediately.

Course Topics

  • Establishing and maintaining “control of your message”
  • Developing memorable, quotable key messages
  • Anticipating the toughest questions and preparing effective answers
  • Pivoting back to key messages with “bridging phrases”
  • Applying principles learned from media interview preparation steps to Q&A sessions at any meeting or presentation.

Learning Objectives:

  1. How to prepare for an interview or public speaking event
  2. Conceiving and delivering key messages
  3. Maintaining control of your story

Presenter Bio

Thom Fladung is managing partner of Hennes Communications, one of the few firms in the United States focused exclusively on crisis communications and crisis management. Thom spent 33 years in newspaper newsrooms and held lead editing positions at the Detroit Free Press, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Akron Beacon Journal and, most recently, served as managing editor of The Plain Dealer.

What Attendees Say About the Presenter

“At the FSBA/FADSS Annual Summer Conference, this was my favorite session. We have all seen examples of a social media post spinning out of control. The presenter provided simple practical advice for managing social media accounts and protecting a district or school’s brand. I highly recommend.”

—— Sue Woltanski, FSBA School Board Member, Monroe County (Florida)

“Thom Fladung was a great presenter on how to handle sensitive situations in schools.  His message is easy to understand and user-friendly.  He is able to relate to all kinds of personalities and roles.  At our Summer Administrator Conference, he spoke to an array of school officials including Superintendents, Treasurers, Principals, Special Ed. Directors, Curriculum Directors, and more.  He demonstrated the DOs and DON’Ts of media/public interactions and made his presentation very applicable to school personnel.  This is the 2nd time he has presented for us, and he received positive reviews both times.”

—— Terry Strieter, Superintendent, Greene County (Ohio) Educational Service Center

“Thom had a great presentation for our district and my staff.  He covered topics that were relevant to all of our job classifications, from our bus drivers to our administrators, and there was information that every person could benefit from hearing.”

—— Chad Mason, Superintendent, Cedar Cliff (Ohio) Local School District