Many people who speak at a conference dread the Q&A session after their presentation. For some, it’s the prospect of answering difficult questions on the spot, while others fear that someone will take issue with the content of their talk. But there’s no need to be worried about the Q&A – in fact, getting questions from the audience is actually a real compliment as it shows that they were engaged with your subject matter.
When you understand that almost any question you receive in a Q&A will be a positive, it shows that this session can be a very valuable time in the presentation. So use it to your advantage! Here’s how:
Reinforce your message at Q&A
The Q&A session is a great time to reinforce the message you’re putting out. When someone asks you a question it gives you license not only to reply but also to continue talking. Making a point for a second time will make it last longer in the mind of your audience as well as giving another opportunity for late comers to hear it.
One of the problems that many conference speakers come up against is the time limit on their presentation. It’s not always possible to fit in all the details that you had planned when you’re up against a strict time deadline. The Q&A session can give you a vital opportunity to expand on some of your points and add in valuable information. Think about common questions you might receive and find ways to work in some of your additional material.
Explain anything unclear
When you’ve been working on your presentation for a long time, it can be easy to forget that this will be the first time that your audience has heard it. That means that you need to explain each point clearly. Sometimes it is the case that a presenter can be ambiguous or skip over a key issue. The Q&A session here can actually be very important as it gives the audience the chance to let you know, so that you can clarify.
Address specific examples
Perhaps the most valuable aspect of the Q&A from an audience perspective is that it gives them the opportunity to apply the things you have talked about to their real life examples. This can be important for you too as it can help to make certain point clearer.