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Preparing For Your Webinar, Key Note Speech or Workshop: How to Get Comfy Going Off-Script With Live Q&A

January 27th, 2016 | 2 comments

I’m kicking off today’s video with a confession:

Once upon a time, the idea of doing live Q&A at the end of a workshop freaked me out.

Like, really freaked me out in the butterflies-in-my-stomach, sweaty palms kinda way.

And now, I see those same fears mirrored in my clients. When they’re planning a webinar, conference call, or a live event. Knowing that they should have a live Q&A… they sometimes look for excuses to get out of it. Maybe some of these will sound familiar:


“What if they ask a question I don’t have the answer to?”  

“What if the person goes into a long story that wastes valuable time?”

“What if they ask me something I don’t feel comfortable talking about in public?”


Ringing any bells? Thought they might. Watch today’s episode now.

Here’s the deal:

Q&A sessions are a powerful and interactive way to address concerns, drive ideas and answer burning questions that are frustrating to your audience.

Still, many women I know are afraid to step into the unknown territory of live Q&A.

But I’ve got great news! Fortunately, your worries and concerns are completely valid… and totally easy to plan for (and YES, you can plan around your fears)!

I’m going to give you a checklist of the 5 things you need to shine the spotlight on to ensure you (and your audience) get the most out of offering a live Q&A.

Spotlight 1:
Plan when you’re going to take questions.

Are you going to open up to Q&A during your planned content, or at the end?

Plan ahead and communicate the timeline with your audience. Let them know when you will be offering Q&A in your introduction. It’s brilliant to remind your audience,  “In order to get to all of your questions, you must not go into long-winded storytelling.”

Also, prompt your listeners to consider framing their question in a way that will benefit everyone listening, and let them know upfront that there will be just one question per person, so you can dive in deep.

You have permission to keep a tight reign on large or tough crowds  You can do this by using a moderator with a mic or mute caller control. While you probably won’t attract troublesome questions, plan ahead by having someone on-call to support you in controlling the situation.

Spotlight 2:
Anticipate the questions.

Fumbling to come up with a response to a question undermines your credibility… and no one wants that.

However, there’s a simple technique to avoid this happening to you live! All you have to do is take 30 minutes to sit down with a notepad. Better yet, sit with someone who knows your audience.  

You’ll want to anticipate all types of questions, from hostile to mundane, and then plan how you’ll respond. Remember to always stay calm, confident, and compassionate.

You audience will love you for taking charge and not wasting time. The key is to plan ahead!  

Spotlight 3:
Listen for subtext.

There is usually a larger issue that is unspoken beneath the question being asked.  If you can intuit this in the moment, find the motivation beneath the question and address that.  This is how you truly win the respect and heart of your audience.

Spotlight 4:
Admit when you don’t know.

Don’t ever, ever, ever fake an answer. If you don’t know what to say, just be upfront and honest! It’s much better to be authentic and in your integrity, even if it feels a little embarrassing in the moment, than trying to piece together a reply full of holes.

You can offer to research this after and follow up with them. If you know of a resource where they might find the answer, point them to it.

Spotlight 5:
Leave them with a powerful close.

You never want to just end a Q&A, it would feel kind of weird and incomplete.

Instead, try wrapping up with a summary of your amazing talk, merged with some of your best questions/answers, and revisit the solution you’re trying to help your audience achieve.

There you have it! Now you’re totally prepared to shine with live Q&A!

As always, the real connection and sisterhood happens in the comments below and in our Wake Up Wednesday Sisterhood Facebook Group.

Let’s meet up in the comments and discuss your most memorable moment at a live Q&A you led or attended. Do you have a story to share? I’ll be in the comments sharing mine! See you there!

All my love,


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2 people have commented
  1. Jey,
    I am so glad you addressed this issues since it’s one I struggle with. I dislike to look foolish (don’t we all?) but I do not like giving answers to things I do not know. I am afraid that saying “I don’t know” will make people doubt my credibility and my passion. I love the idea of sitting down and coming up with a bunch of questions others might ask. Thank you for this suggestion. It actually helped me to feel more empowered to do live events.

    • Laureen you are so welcome. I’m curious… have you ever led a live Q & A? I wonder if you might discover how resourced and credible you are by having a time to reference. Would love to know.

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