Question and Answer Sessions

The question-and-answer (often called “Q-and-A”) is a special type of impromptu
speaking that is directed by questions from members of the audience. They can be
planned or spur of the moment.
The key to making a question-and answer session successful is to….
 Be well prepared
Try to predict which issues will be most important to your audience, the questions
they might ask about those issues, and the answers to those questions.
 Answer the question
Be direct, specific, and brief. Your answer should not be longer than 3 sentences,
unless the question is very technical.
 Respect you questioners
Most questioners are good people seeking answers to honest questions. However,
some questioners are very opinionated, incomprehensible, or even hostile.
Nevertheless, you should treat all your questioners with respect.
Protocol during the Session
As a matter of courtesy, call on audience members in the order in which they raise
their hands. Consider these guidelines:
 Repeat or paraphrase the question.
 Initially make eye contact with the questioner then move your gaze to other
audience members.
 Remember your listening skills.
 Don’t be afraid to pause while formulating an answer.
 Keep answers concise.

O’Hair, Dan; Rubenstein, Hannah & Stewart Rob (2004) A Pocket Guide to Public Speaking
Engledberg, Isa & Raimes, Ann (2004) Pocket Keys for Speakers
UNCG University Speaking Center, 22 McIver Building Underground 256-1346
For more resources check out our Website http://speakingcenter.uncg.edu