How long do you plan for Q&A?

By Laura Bergells on

Cats with questions

Q&A — questions and answers — is my favorite part of any business or training presentation. I’m curious. I like hearing what’s going on in the heads of the audience. I like learning from the audience every bit as much as learning from the presenter.

When I give a presentation or training session, I almost always plan for Q&A. I first offer the audience some content to chew on, so that we can enjoy a conversation near the end.

But just how much time do you plan for questions and answers?

Over time, I’ve discovered a formula that works for me.

  • When I’m speaking to professionals, I plan for 15-20 minutes of Q&A.
  • However, if I’m speaking to students (college age or younger) I plan for 5-10 minutes of Q&A.

I find that professionals will often ask more detailed and specific questions based on their work experience. Students are more likely to ask for broad clarification rather than specific advice.

This formula works for me to keep things from ending too late/too early. Also, I never end on Q&A — I reserve a minute or two for a more formal close.

I’ve found a Q&A timing formula that works for me — but your results may vary. What works for you?