How to Conduct the an Effective Q&A Session
Updated: Aug 23, 2018
I have always said, speakers are broke and trainers make money.
Speakers are broke because they just come, speak, spill their stuff and leave while trainers ensure that people get something out of it. They ensure that they give people tools for them to go away and make a difference in their lives and utilize whatever they were taught in the speech.
How do great world class speakers do the Q & A? You could have a really bad presentation but you do a great Q & A and that rounds it off. Where they could have given you in feedback sessions 60%, they give you 90% because you had a great Q & A.
We all know that when you do a training sometimes people just don’t want to ask, at times people are shy and they don't have the confidence to ask. It is your job as a World Class Speaker to make it safe and to open it up so that people can, not only ask questions but, engage more so that when the presentation is done, you leave them on a high.
1. Do a quick round up of your presentation.
Go through what you taught them, "hey guys, we have been talking for an hour now and, we have covered this and this." Make sure that you go through that so that everybody knows, you have summarized the points. It is at this stage that you say, "Ladies and gentlemen am going to open up the floor for questions, if anybody has questions". Remember not everybody has questions, there certain people who want to ask questions but they are a little bit hesitant.
If you are a seasoned speaker and have attended the World Class Speaker's training, you will be able to pick out people in the audience who you have connected with quite well. You can see that they want to ask a question but need a little bit a push. It is your job to go through, scan the audience and then you'll see somebody you can clearly tell they want to ask a question but, are a little bit afraid. You can say, "I can see you Sandra there might have a question, what do you want to ask or what do you want to clarify". That then gives them a push to want to ask.
2. Reflect the question back before you answer
When somebody asks a question, you must reflect the question back to them to just make sure you understood the question. At times somebody will ask a question, the presenter will answer something and you can clearly tell, the person who asked the question hasn't gotten it because, the presenter didn't not only say it back. In saying it, you clarify in your mind to make sure that, this is exactly what this person is asking. So reflect it back before you answer it.
3. Always throw it back to the audience.
Never under estimate your audiences, they know this stuff. There’s not many people who are going to come with some new stuff about something. So, always ask, "hey, who wants to help me answer this or, who can contribute". Now you are beginning not only to engage the audience but, you are giving people an opportunity to feel confident to join the conversation.
4. Ask on behalf of nervous people
Again, if you are thinking about people who are feeling a little bit nervous, they don't want to ask, they are a little bit shy, you might something like, "here is a question that I know you might be considering, here is a question that I think you guys might be thinking about”. This question should be related to your most complex part of the presentation. Ask the question on their behalf and then you will see their heads nodding. And then you say, "who might want to contribute to that". Again you are giving it back to them, your engaging them because ultimately as a presenter, you really want to have 60% presentation, the other 40% with the people you are talking to because then, people feel they were part of it. Always keep in mind it's not about you, it's about your audience.
5. Pair them up.
Get two people and say, "hey guys I have come to the end of my presentation, I want you guys to pair up with strangers and in the next 3 minutes, I want you to come up with 2 questions that you feel you might want to ask me before we leave". They will come up with their 2 questions and all of a sudden, you’ll have questions gala. You are making sure that the entire audience is learning, it's gotten what they need to get and you have made their lives better.