Audience Questions - Tips On Making The Most Of Audience Q&A

Use these tips to improve audience Q&A:

Keeping a tight rein on the audience: If you’re presenting to a large group, ask a Q&A moderator to graciously take the microphone back after each question is asked. That way, one aggressive question won’t turn into a barrage. Or, if you don’t have a moderator, let the audience know up front that you’re answering one question per person so more folks will have a chance to participate. When Nancy Duarte took classes on presentation delivery, she learned to how to address questions from angry inquisitors—while answering questions, you need to look at other audience members so that it’s easier to move on to a different person’s questions and keep the discussion constructive. If your topic is emotionally charged or you’re addressing a crisis—a safety recall—have a facilitator filter the questions. He can compile a mix of tough questions and lighter ones that might get a laugh, and omit those that stray off topic or seem to have a personal agenda behind them. He can also plant questions the audience might be too intimidated to ask—a question like: “Will people lose their jobs if we don’t make our numbers this year?”

Leaving a strong final impression: Don’t end abruptly after the Q&A—it feels incomplete and unsatisfying to the audience, and you’ll miss an opportunity to reinforce your message. Wrap up the discussion with a brief summary that recaps the “new bliss” you’re helping the audience achieve.