A Handful of Tips 54 –
The five best tips for a chairperson to run a question and answer session after a formal speech
Before a meeting starts the chairperson must get the speaker’s agreement to answer questions from the floor.
The audience must be told before the start if and when the speaker is prepared to answer questions.
1, The chairperson should set the rules
“One question at a time please.”
“Keep your questions short and to the point.”
“I will repeat the question so all will be able to hear and to give the speaker a chance to consider the answer.”
2. The chairperson is the boss and must keep the audience in control and in good humour
The chairperson must see that the questions given to the speaker are to the point and as complete as possible.
3. All questions and answers should be clearly audible
For a large audience use transmitting microphones. Often standing microphones are placed around a room and the questioner moves to the microphone to ask a question.
4. Useful techniques if questions are not forthcoming
Before the talk select a few members of the audience to prepare a question to ask the speaker.
Announce a short break to give people time to turn to their neighbours to discuss the talk. After several minutes ask if there are any further questions for the speaker.
Some people are shy about asking questions in public so be prepared to accept written questions.
5. The chairperson should be democratic when selecting questioners
Take questions in a logical order. Discourage people who want to make a speech without asking a question.
Time usually limits the number of questions so make sure a few vocal people don’t dominate.
“The chairman’s job is to protect the weak and control the strong.”
Source: “Training Secrets. Helping adults learn” Moss Associates Ltd. New Zealand and Cengage Learning Asia, Singapore. Also available as an eBook from Amazon.com. (This book is a good resource. It contains 49 ways to train.)