Try these Q&A approaches to enhance a keynote speech

Whether you’re hosting an event or delivering the oration yourself, these techniques can deal with audience queries without detracting from the presenter’s energy and message.

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Your keynote speaker just delivered a fabulous talk, and the audience loved it.

Attendees offer sustained applause, perhaps even a standing ovation. As an event planner, you’re thrilled, but now what? Should the keynote speaker have a Q&A session? That seemingly simple decision is quite complicated.

A lot goes into delivering a fantastic speech, but even after a veteran speaker gives a powerful performance, taking questions immediately afterward can suck the air out of the room. The energy is lost, and attendees walk away not with memories of the soaring conclusion but the answer to an attendee’s question.

Worse still, some people use questions to fulfill their own agendas, saying something self-serving like: “My product does exactly what you describe, my question is …”

Other attendees drone on and on before posing a question, sometimes eating up half the allotted Q&A time. That’s not fun for anyone.

Try a hybrid approach.

If a Q&A is important to a keynote, try breaking it off into a separate agenda session.

First up is the keynote speech. After that has concluded, a moderator joins the speaker on stage and offers thoughts for a minute or two. Then the moderator transitions to the second session by asking the first question, then calls on audience members to ask subsequent questions.

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