Creating an opportunity for people to ask the questions they're afraid to ask -- with less risk.

Necessary supplies

  • Flipchart or Giant Sticky Notes
  • Markers

Goals & objectives

  • Provide an opportunity for all participants to ask the questions they are most curious about and have them answered
  • An opportunity to generate scenarios for the activities later in the training

Process steps

  1. Prior to the training, prepare a flipchart with the questions you are going to have as options for the participants (but keep this hidden until this activity starts):
    1. Choose 4 – 6 questions that you think the group will want (or need) to know the answers to, but may be afraid to ask out loud (because they are worried about appearing ignorant, prejudiced, etc.). For example, a question might be “Is it true that people choose to be gay/trans?”
    2. Number the questions and write them large and legibly, allowing for people to easily identify them and simply call out a number (instead of having to repeat the question aloud).
  2. Reveal the questions the group, and explain that these are common questions participants have, and you’d be happy to answer any of them if the group would like.
  3. Have participants say the number of the question they want answered.
  4. For each question, answer it thoroughly, and then check in with the person who requested it to ensure they’re satisfied with your response.

Make it your own

You can generate these questions with the group, similar to anonymous Q&A, essentially combining both of these activities into one. And you can also just answer all of the questions you have prepared, without asking for folks to request them, with a primer something like, “these questions are so common from participants, we wanted to make sure they got answered before the training was over. So, #1…” This is also an activity that translates well to PowerPoint, if that sort of thing is your sort of thing.

Notes

This format gives you total control to only answer questions you’re comfortable answering, and to prepare (or even script out) your answers beforehand. This is great! With this in mind, you don’t need to open it up to follow-up questions if you’re not comfortable with that, and you can keep it solely focused on what you’ve written on the flipchart.