This Week: How To Manage The Audience Q&A

Due to their spontaneous nature, question and answer exchanges can be more memorable than the presentation itself. Sharp audience questions often add energy to your talk—occasionally even a sense of danger—and audiences tend to be keenly interested in what their fellow seatmates have to say.

Even with its risk of unpredictability, you should view the question and answer exchange as a critical asset for you as a speaker, not as an unwelcome interruption. Questions help reveal what your audience cares about, remains confused by, or continues to resist. They allow you to offer responses that align your content with their concerns, clear up any lingering confusion, and persuade people that your ideas are sensible.

The Q&A period also allows you to demonstrate your competence. Directly answering challenging questions with poise and confidence sends a message to your audience that you’re capable of leading, executing or managing whatever initiative you’ve presented.

Beginning tomorrow, we’ll run three in-depth posts on managing the audience Q&A.

Mature adult man having a public speech.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, you’ll learn seven rules of engagement for managing the Q&A period.

On Thursday, I’ll write about six things to do when you’re stumped by a question.

On Friday, I’m taking a nap.

In the meantime, I’ve included a few links below from previous posts on this topic:

Five Times to Take Questions From Your Audience

What To Do When Your Audience Doesn’t Ask Questions

Stop Asking Your Audiences Dumb Questions!

Not Now. I’ll Answer Your Question Later.

Answering Questions From an Angry Audience