How to Prepare for Impromptu Questions

Impromptu questions (those asked off-the-cuff in meetings) can sometimes cause a person to stumble and come across as less than professional. You weren’t expecting to be called on, yet here you are, suddenly thrust into the limelight. 

Firstly, prepare before the meeting. Look at the agenda and focus on why you were included, and what is your contribution or subject area? Have all relevant material ready and accessible. Never assume you are just there to listen.

Once the meeting starts, take brief notes. Then, when called upon, pause and gather your thoughts. If in doubt, repeat the question. Aim to respond only to the issue and avoid the temptation to elaborate unnecessarily or digress. It is easy to ramble with impromptu questions. 

Practice structuring your reply in an organized manner: make your point, illuminate /expand, and conclude. 

The better you become at responding to this type of question, the more you will be called on to add value.