Any questions?

istock-question-mark-and-chairs1Participants in a meeting or workshop often have questions they bring into the room. Holding those questions in their head for the ‘right time’ to ask them can sometimes get in the way of what’s happening right now.

Before a presentation or workshop commences you can clear heads and help everyone begin to understand what’s on the minds of those in the room.

Ask if anyone has any question that they hope the presentation or workshop will answer for them. Record the questions so everyone can see them. Post them as a checklist. Leave space for any answers that may emerge during the course of the day.

Knowing what the audience’s questions are will give presenters confidence that their presentation includes content of interest. It also gives them the opportunity to incorporate any answers that may not have been included in their original presentation.

After the presentation, check back.

“Have you heard responses or answers to your question(s)?”

“Have other questions emerged for you?”

Refer to the list throughout the workshop as useful for the group.

Acknowledgements: Shoshana Faire for this suggestion that keeps on being useful. Photo: iStockphoto

Lynn Walsh – workshop and meeting facilitator – Sydney- business and strategic planning – team conversations

Lynn Walsh – workshop and meeting facilitator – Sydney

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3 comments until now

  1. A great tip to share – thanks. I use similar strategies myself.

    For example, I often use a laminated picture of a red sports car, with the title ‘Parking Lot’, which I affix to a wall somewhere in the room. Nearby I put some paper (or sticky notes) and pens. Participants are free to add any additional questions at any stage during the workshop or during breaks etc.

    That way, I can also monitor how folk are going or any issues that are arising for them during the day – without people necessarily having to say it to the whole group if they don’t wish to do so at the time.

    The “Parking Lot” is a also way of capturing questions or issues that may emerge during the workshop, but are not always appropriate to address immediately – or are (for the time being) a bit left of field in relation to the ongoing discussion etc.

    “Is this something we need to address right now in order to move forward?” “Can it be added to the Parking Lot for us to look at later?” are questions I’ve found very useful at times. Helps folk to focus on what they feel are the priorities, while still ensuring all questions/issues along the way are recorded and everyone feels heard.

  2. Yes – the parking lot comes in very handy to capture stuff and focus on the business of the day.

  3. I loved seeing Lynn use this technique, it was very effective (as were all her techniques!).
    One of the participants added some value to the idea. He said the person in the room who could answer the question could have later gone to the butchers paper and jotted up the answer, or added to it in some way. That way if the answer was important and urgent to the person who raised it, the answer could have been accessible quickly. Seemed like a good idea I am keen to experiment with next time.

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