When I speak at an event or present a workshop, there are many segments I can prepare for and deliver as planned. But there is one part of a presentation that’s my favourite (and feared by many!) – the Q & A Session!
What makes the Q & A session so special? It’s like grabbing a into a dark bag of unknown, Toastmasters speakers will probably like to compare it to a Tabletopics impromptu speaking session – you never quite know what you’ll get.
I have often seen speakers avoid the Q & A session because we can only prepare so much for this segment; obviously we’re experts at our subject matter, but our audiences are experts at being creative when it comes to asking obscure and unexpected questions. I have more than once stood on stage, stumped for a moment before I scrambled for an answer, delivered as elegantly as possible – and I admit, once in a while I didn’t have an answer at all… yup that moment between wanting to sink into the ground of the stage and admitting “this is a very good question, but I’ll have to get back to you with an answer (a very good way of connecting with an audience member later by the way – an email a couple of days later goes a long way!).
BUT as unpredictable as Q & A sessions are, they are also something else (no, not terrifying…): an endless source of great content. And that makes them invaluable to your content creation system! They can feed you content for your blogs, online courses, webinars, videos, social media, newsletters and of course speech material. The best material often comes from the simplest questions! Just think back for a moment to your last speeches – how many questions could you take and turn into great content pieces? I bet the list is long!
Here are a 3 tips how to take your Q & A session and turn them into a fountain of content:
- Allow enough time for your Q & A session
I see this mistake often – too little time is allowed for Q & A sessions. Tell me if this sounds familiar “we’re just about out of time, so we’ll be able to take 1 or 2 questions…”. If you set up the Q & A as a rush-moment, people won’t like to engage, they don’t want to impose (even though they may have great questions to ask). So instead allow enough time to answer questions (and if against all odds there are not enough questions asked to fill the allotted time, present a little bonus piece of content or an exercise – people always love extra value!)
- Set up your Q & A session as a learning opportunity for the audience
By presenting it as a session for everyone, you’ll keep your audience engaged. For example, when a question is presented, ask your audience “how many of you can relate?/how many of you have the same challenge?”. This will not only engage everyone, but also allow you to gauge how interesting the topic could be to a wider audience.
- Keep track of the questions asked
This is a very important step! By keeping track of the questions, your “content piggy bank” is filled the moment you leave the stage. If you can’t keep track yourself, create a system for it – you could for example audio or video record the Q & A session, or you could ask someone else to write down the questions it for you.
Try these simple tips and watch your content material grow!
BONUS – Action Step: Think of a great question you were recently asked and create a short, cool video tip (don’t think of a big production, keep it simple – take your phone and record it!) and post it on your Facebook, Instagram and YouTube accounts… what a great way to establish yourself as an authority in your field!
Start now, finish strong,