The debate… to Q&A, or to not Q&A? Let’s be honest, if everyone in your audience felt like they were an expert on your presentation topic, would they really be listening to you in the first place? Most likely not. Your audience is there for one reason, and one reason only: to learn, absorb and become knowledgeable about your topic.
Your audience has devoted time out of their busy schedules to listen to what you have to say. Therefore, allowing your audience to ask you questions, dig deeper, and feel listened to, will only help both parties be successful in the long run.
If you disagree and are rooting for team “NO Q&A”, read a few reasons why we believe you should always set aside time for your audience to ask questions:
You’re a Subject Matter Expert, but they’re NOT.
This is probably the most important reason of them all. A Q&A might seem unimportant to you, BUT that’s because you know, understand, and are a subject matter expert on the topic you’re speaking about. Your audience is not. This is the time for your audience to dig deeper into your topic and ask more detailed questions that you didn’t elaborate on earlier.
Did you miss something?
Assuming your time slot to speak is around 30 minutes to an hour, we know that it is nowhere near the amount of time it took YOU to become as educated as you are. That time frame is most likely not enough time for you to share everything that you know with your audience, so chances are you probably skipped something that might be of interest to someone. This allows a great opportunity for you to be able to share MORE about something you’re so passionate about! This also gives your audience a chance to learn more about something that they are specifically interested in, which might not have been what you expected when preparing!
Now it’s YOUR turn to learn.
Is this presentation something that you’re doing consistently? If so, listening to the questions you’re being asked is a great indicator of what your audience didn’t fully understand the first time. Take note of these questions and re-evaluate that portion of your presentation. Is there a way for you to improve? Can you incorporate an exercise to help your audience comprehend the topic better? Most likely!
So, next time you’re presenting, don’t forget to leave an extra 10-15 minutes for Q&A… you’ll thank yourself in the long run and so will your audience!
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