Do you dread arriving at the end of your academic talk, sure that someone in the audience is going to ask you that single question that demolishes everything you've just said? Are you one of those people that always asks "did I answer your question" after each of your responses? Do you consider yourself that one audience member who seems to fire off heat-seeking questions like missiles aimed at the heart of every up-and-coming young scientist?
In this workshop, we discussed the art of the Q&A period following any presentation, but with a focus on those appearing in Academia. After identifying the context and the players, we walked through some tips and tricks to help us through one of the most awkward (potentially) situations that exist in our corner of the world. We discussed some common pitfalls, provided some useful language and tactics, and even addressed our role as an audience member or even as a session chair or moderator during a Q&A session.
We looked at a bunch of awkward Q&A experiences that some of the participants have had in the past; discussed the context, what went wrong and why, how it was handled and whether the situation was eventually salvaged? Or ended in a fiery death...
The workshop started with our embattled stories from the trenches, then rose like the Phoenix from the flames to impart in us a resilience that will aid our future endeavours in the realm of the academic Q&A, and beyond.