Ah, the classic “Let me open the floor to any questions” at the end of a presentation or talk. What’s the formula for making this an effective use of everyone’s time?
1.) Keep your answers concise so that you can answer more questions. Very long answers stifle the group because they’re doing some mental math and realizing you’re going to run over and keep them from leaving on time, or worse, from being released for lunch. Also, long answers quell momentum.
2.) Remember that you are there for the audience. While we love to hear stories, keep yours relevant to the question that was asked. Make sure the Q & A session doesn’t become an opportunity for you to regale the crowd with all your favorite hits.
3.) If you aren’t sure what the questioner was getting at, ask.
4.) Most questions have lots of possible answers, even for the same person. Don’t start talking, realize you have a different answer, and change course. Decide which answer you’re giving and commit to it.
Reminder! I’ll be answering questions in an upcoming blog post. Curious about what to do with your hands, filler words, how intention works, or how to practice? Email me!