Quick Summary: You’ve just finished a dazzling presentation on benefits and launched into a question-and-answer session. The room is silent. You assume your talk was thorough, right? Wrong! Here’s how to prepare for a meaningful Q & A session.
Human resources managers often spend days preparing for company-wide meetings to present benefits materials. But the question-and-answer period at the end is often treated as an afterthought.
You can make your Q & A session valuable for employees if you follow these 9 tips:
1. Anticipate questions. Just as you practice your presentation, also practice for questions. Hold a mock Q & A period with your HR staff before the meeting. This also helps you find any holes in your presentation.
2. Set parameters before you begin. Let the audience know how long your presentation will be and how much time is reserved for questions at the end. Encourage them to jot down questions throughout your talk.
3. Ask open questions throughout your presentation. This stimulates feedback, which not only lets you know if your message is on track, but also makes the audience feel comfortable asking questions at the end.
4. Give employees time to formulate questions. Set aside 3 or 4 minutes at the end of your talk for people to quickly chat with those next to them about possible questions. Then ask to hear each group’s questions. This technique may help individuals who are hesitant to raise their hands. (Or have employees write their questions on cards that are passed to a screener.)
5. Repeat questions so everyone can hear them. Paraphrasing the questions helps both you and the audience understand them.
6. Respond to the whole room, not just to the person asking the question. Speak in generalities, not about a specific employee’s benefits situation.
7. Avoid rambling. Provide a succinct answer: Don’t launch into a mini speech or go off on a tangent.
8. Use a timer so the Q & A session doesn’t go beyond the allotted time.
9. Wrap up by repeating important points from your presentation, such as deadlines for benefits registration or reminders about where employees can find detailed information.
• If someone asked a difficult question you were unable to field during the Q & A session, find the answer, email the employee a personal answer, then send a response to the entire audience.
• Wait a few days after your presentation for the information to sink in, then email attendees asking for any further questions. Be sure to answer these in a timely manner.
• Post Q & As on your intranet site. If employees asked the questions, the answers must be important to them.
Hope Health, All Rights Reserved.