Q & A sessions can get out of hand and lose their effectiveness unless the speaker maintains strict control of them. It’s the only way that all the necessary information can be delivered.
Here are three techniques that are guaranteed to help you stay in charge:
- Have listeners raise their hands if they have a question – just like we all learned in school. This way, you can choose to answer questions as they arise – if there aren’t too many – or you can ask that the questions be saved for a specific time in the agenda.
- If a questioner goes on and on, beating all around the bush and back, complicating the question for everyone, interrupt them. If you don’t understand the question, ask for clarification. If you do understand, paraphrase the question for everyone’s benefit and answer it right away to avoid further rambling by the participant.
- Discourage audience discussion after a question has been raised. The participants are there to hear your thoughts and experiences, not those of fellow audience members. Don’t hesitate to interrupt the banter. Move quickly back into your presentation.