After your keynote speech comes the question you most fear asking, “Any questions?” The question and answer session doesn’t have to be scary and can be one of the most fun parts of your talk.
Here are 10 ways to rock your question and answer session.
1. Treat your answer like a mini-speech
–Keep your manner of presenting consistent with the rest of your speech. When you answer the audience member, direct your answer towards the whole crowd–make eye contact with them and move around the stage just like you would during your speech.
2. Call on many parts of the room
–When looking for hands, look around the entire crowd. Many speakers get tunnel vision and only focus on one area of the audience. Make a conscious effort to look to the back, left, right, and center.
3. Admit when you don’t know
–bluffing is easy to detect. A simple response such as, “I don’t know, let me research that for you,” works every time.
4. Actually follow up
–use the worksheet included in this course to get down the information for follow up questions
5. Leave enough time
–Plan to end with enough time for Question and Answer. If you run out of time for questions, have audience members write down their questions and then respond over email.
6. Repeat the question to make sure you heard it correctly and the audience did, too.
–The acoustics in a room can be weird and if you misheard the question then the answer will serve no one.
7. Ask the person if your answer was successful
–if not, add on or follow up afterwards
8. Close out after your Q and A
–you get the last word regardless of what anyone else says. Have a closing for your speech as the last part of the Q&A.
9. Take questions throughout your speech
–If your talk will go for more than 20 minutes, consider having stopping points throughout your talk for Q and A sections or allowing audience members to ask questions as they arise.
10. Treat it as a conversation
–View the Q and A session as an opportunity to talk with your audience members–they will ask you questions and you can ask them questions, too.
Need help with your next speech or question and answer session? Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org