We all know how difficult it can be to stand on the stage and answer the audience’s questions, but how about the other side? How about standing up in front of everyone, picking up a microphone, and asking the speaker a question?
For those who fear public speaking and feel exposed, asking a question can be as daunting as having to answer one. The only difference is that you think it isn’t required of you. Yet, the truth is: yes, it is.
Those who never ask questions sound uninterested or disrespectful. Asking questions is a way of showing how engaged you are in a project or presentation. A good question can have a significant impact on how others see you.
A step towards improving public speaking skills
Asking a question in a Q&A can be quite scary, but it is also a good thing.
It is one simple, quick way of practicing your public speaking skills. It is less risky, and with time, it will have an impact on your confidence and ability to speak up.
You can, perhaps, start in your team meetings. Don’t be afraid to ask a question to kickstart your meeting or give a couple of ideas in a way that makes you feel less judged. Start small, but do it!
Four rules to make you feel more confident when asking a question
As with any other way to speak in public, the trick is raising your confidence levels before intervening. So, here you have some “rules” to ask good questions with no fear:
- It’s ONE question – Avoid shooting 3 or 4 questions at once, or to make affirmations before the questions. Keep it simple and as quick as possible. It is easier for you and the speaker, and, of course, the rest of the audience will also appreciate it.
- It’s about what was said on stage – Maybe the speaker was so interesting that you want to know more about their work, or some other studies they did and you found out about on the Internet. Well, you can do it later. Now, it’s not the time. Listen carefully to the presentation, and ask a question related to what was said.
- Don’t overthink – You are listening to the presentation, and a question pops up in your mind. That’s the one! Don’t worry too much. If it isn’t answered until the Q&A, ask.
- You’re not the only one – As you may feel a bit shy or embarrassed to ask, other audience members will feel it too. This may help you think about yourself as the brave one instead of the exposed one.
Questions are not a bad thing
Many speakers hate the Q&A because they feel judged or attacked by the audience. If you feel like this as a speaker, you probably feel bad to ask questions when you’re in the audience.
However, this whole train of thought is wrong. Questions are not an attack of any sort; they show interest and engagement, and that’s good. So, get ready and ask your questions with no fear.