Taking & Answering Questions as A Future Talk Show Internet Host

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I know from previous encounters with audience participation that taking questions and answering questions are two different beasts entirely.


Many future talk show hosts

encourage their audience to ask questions whether with SKYPE, Spreaker, Google Hangouts, or rigging up a phone to do it. And most questions are relatively harmless. The audience listener is genuinely interested in what you or your guest(s) have to say and they want to ask that all specific question.


sometimes, the audience may have another agenda on their mind and may ask a question that isn’t specific to the topic at hand. What then? How do you answer those off-topic questions.

The first thing a talk show host should do is for the audience member to rephrase their question or to ask it again.

Once that is done, you then go on to damage control. Damage control is when you politely stall the audience question in such a manner that it’s not offensive to the person who has just asked that particular question.

For example,

one time when I was being interviewed about my nonfiction book, “Teenagers! A Bewildered Parent’s Guide,” one of the audience member asked me do my guidelines apply to a teen who is gay? (You have to remember we’re talking the early 90’s and things were a bit different back then.)

I told the audience member that at the moment, I really didn’t have the answer at hand to answer him correctly. If he could give me his phone number and name that I would call him and personally tell him what he wanted to know.

If that person presses you for an answer, a safe answer would be a simple “Yes.” Don’t elaborate it. Just give a very simple answer with further instructions saying that if the questioner wanted more than a simple yes or no to his comment that he should contact you at your given email address. Provide the person with your email address and then move on to the next question.


Most audience members know when it’s time to quit and not press the talk show host to further elaborate on a particular answer.


another way to address that off topic question is to say: “I left that information at home. If you would provide me with your email, I will email that information as soon as I can”

That way you’ve satisfied the insistent questioner, but at the same you’re not taking the time to elaborate and possibly alienate the rest of your listening audience. The choice is yours as always.

When an individual writes in their question, a producer or possibly a second host should be on hand to let you know that you have questions waiting for you. These questions are usually answered on a first-come first-served basis.


you should also talk about the possibility of receiving questions ahead of time with your producer or a close friend who is willing to help you field questions from the audience. One of the worst things you can do is not to be aware of questions being asked or you don’t catch the questions until after the program.

You want to avoid that at all possible cases.

When you do answer those questions, make sure your voice is even and that your voice doesn’t end in the form of a question. That may put off your audience. They may believe that you’re not an expert and therefore not worth their or anybody else’s time. People like entertainment, but they also like to have their curiousity piqued from time to time.

Make sure

you study up on that topic of interest you’re presenting to your audience so you can provide them with the right answers or point them in the right direction to get their questions answered as soon as possible.

Sometimes, the host might make up several questions ahead of time and post them in the answering area. That way, the audience can check and see if their questions are similar to what you have already posted. That way, too, the audience knows that you plan to address those questions a.s.a.p. and that they will leave your show with all their questions answered.


About Lillian Cauldwell

Own and operate an Internet Talk Radio Network for 10 years, 2005 to Present Published Author of Non-Fiction Book, 1996, "Teenagers! A Bewildered Parent's Guide. Published Author of several fiction books, 2006 "Sacred Honor" and 20010 "The Anna Mae Mysteries: The Golden Treasure." Playwright of Theater of the Absurd and Black Comedies. Screenwriter, Black Comedies