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Five tips for better Q&A sessions

Man Giving a Presentation at a Conference

If you have spent a lot of time planning and writing your conference presentation, you might want to believe that it contains everything the audience needs to come away with a full understanding of the topic. But it is inevitable that some people in the crowd will have aspects of your talk that they misunderstood, need further clarification on, or would like their knowledge expanded.

A Q&A session following your talk can be a great way to add clarity to the presentation. Here are five tips to help you conduct a better Q&A session.

1 – Let the audience know

It is a great idea to let your audience know before the talk that you will be providing a Q&A session at the end. One of the major advantages here is that it gives them the chance to prepare useful questions in advance, and allows them to keep in mind anything that they feel needs clarification from your talk.

2 – Plan enough time for Q&A

Crucially, you need to ensure that you are putting in enough time for your Q&A session. This is something that needs to be spoken about during the planning stages of the talk – think about what sort of Q&A session you want to have, and then ensure that you have the appropriate amount of time to be able to carry this out effectively.

3 – Stick to the time limit

If you have planned out a time for your talk as well as Q&A time, it is essential that you stick to that time limit. The best way to do this is to have a very strong understanding of how long your talk is going to go on for. This means practicing it over and over to make sure you are doing it at the correct speed.

4 – Prepare the moderator

Speak to the moderator before your talk takes place and let them know about your plans for the Q&A session after the talk. It is a great idea to provide them with a couple of questions that they can ask to get the ball rolling and allow others in the audience the chance to open up and ask their questions.

5 – Use the right tools

It is also a great idea to use software like an audience response system. Having a voting keypad can allow introverted audience members the chance to vote on what they want to hear more about – there are more ways to be involved for those who might not feel confident to speak up.