Lesson 28º








Questions and answers

The public really appreciate having the possibility to ask questions on those apsects which they areunclear about or which they disagree with the speaker.

The option to ask questions enriches the speech, and you get to involve the audience and transmit an image of security, that you dominate the material.

If you do not dominate the topic you are talking about, you will have to avoid at all cost the question time, as you run the risk of looking silly in front of people.

At the start of the speech you should indicate whether people can interrupt you when they have a doubt or if you will have a question time at the end.

The possibility to interrupt can be preferable when you are talking about a technical topic, resolving the doubts as soon as they come up, which allows the public to follow the reasoning displayed.

This option can present some inconveniences; the interruptions can prevent the fluid development of the argument, which can in turn confuse the audience; besides interruptions make it difficult to control the length of the speech, and you can find yourself without enough time to finish the speech.

A question time at the end of the presentation allows the speech to develop naturally, without interference and also allows the speaker to control the length.

If you opt for a question time at the end of the session:

You should indicate the time available.

You should invite the audience to put forward their doubts. If nobody intervenes after a while, the speaker can ask a general question (for example, if such a point was clear or if the speech was easy to follow) with the aim of animating the audience to participate.

You need to make sure that it is not just a few people that take over the question time, try to make more people intervene.

When the speaker is asking the question he should look at the person he is asking but when he is responding he should look at the whole audience.

The questions should be answered clearly, with precision, avoiding digressing (this allows you to take advantage of the time and allows the audience to think of more questions).

When you respond to a question, you should ask the audience if anyone would like to add anything (this way you emphasize the audience's participation).

The speaker should always answer in an educated way, even if the question asked totally lacks interest or has already been asked.

If someone asks a question which has nothing to do with the topic, you should kindly let them know that the question they are asking isn't relevant.

When you answer a question, give the person that asked the question the opportunity to give thier opinion on the topic (just in case something is not clear or if they do not agree with the answer).

If this exchange of points of view starts to drag on, you will have to try and stop it, offering the people the possibility to continue analyzing the topic once the session has finished (you have to try and avoid exhausting the question time with just one point).

If the orator does not know how to answer a question he should not show himself to be nervous or setback.

He should let the audience know that he does not know the answer to the question and ask if anyone from the public knows how to answer the question.

If nobody replies, the speaker can analyze the topic and answer the question being as brief as possible.

Under no circumstance can you invent the answer (you could be exposed).

The audience appreciates sincerity and understand that the speaker may not know one determined aspect of the topic.

When the time available is running out, the speaker should point out that there is only enough time for two more questions.

Once the question time has finished thank the audience again for attending and conclude the event.

If there is not enough time for a question time, then the speaker can offer to stay behind after the speech and answer any questions that the public might have.