Become a pro at audience Q&A: How to conduct a Q&A

September 20, 2019

This is part two of a series on audience Q&A.

In part one of this series, we covered the benefits of Q&As and how to decide when to take questions in your presentation. In part two, based on a post on Ragan’s PR Daily, we’ll look at best practices for taking questions and how to interact well with your audience during a Q&A.

Once you’ve decided when you’ll take questions, you can tell your audience how they should ask them. Methods include:

  • having your audience jump in; this works best for small groups and with more informal presentations
  • using a show of hands; this is advantageous with larger groups and more formal talks
  • written questions; this can be effective for large panel discussions or when audience members are tuning in remotely.

We also have some tips on how to interact well with your audience:

  • If you’re met with silence when the Q&A begins, ask a question of your own to the audience to get the ball rolling.
  • Identify the questioner’s main point to help you effectively answer their question.
  • If you’re having trouble understanding an audience member’s question, ask for clarification, give a brief answer, and ask if they’re willing to stick around after the talk to continue the conversation, or try reiterating their question to make sure you understand it.

In part three, we’ll talk about best practices in formulating your answers to questions.

If you have any questions about audience Q&A, reach out to University Relations at unews@umn.edu.