What Questions to Ask a Guest Speaker?

July 24, 2023
Posted in Questions
July 24, 2023 Terkel

What Questions to Ask a Guest Speaker?

We asked four professionals, ranging from founders to community managers, to share their experiences of asking a guest speaker a question that led to a profound answer. Their responses, from Dr. Williams discussing leadership lessons to Puzyńska speaking on crime fiction’s popularity, offer a fascinating insight into the power of asking the right question at the right time.

  • Dr. Williams on Leadership Lessons
  • Prof. Hadi on Sustainable Business Practices
  • Dr. Collins on Space Lessons for Earth
  • Puzyńska on Crime Fiction’s Popularity

Dr. Williams on Leadership Lessons

Dr. Jane Williams, a renowned authority in the fields of leadership and innovation, was a guest at a recent engagement. A query was posed to engage the audience that would elicit a thought-provoking response and spark conversations about personal growth and leadership development.

The question to Dr. Williams was, “What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career journey that has shaped your approach to leadership?”

This query was chosen because it was believed it would elucidate her experiences and values, providing the audience with valuable takeaways. As a leader, the importance of learning from the experiences of others in order to develop effective leadership practices is understood.

Dr. Williams’ response was inspiring. She shared a personal story about a difficult leadership situation that taught her the value of empathy, active listening, and nurturing a culture of teamwork.

The audience’s response inspired serious leadership dialogues and self-reflection.

Michael CallahanMichael Callahan
Founder and VP, The Callahan Law Firm

Prof. Hadi on Sustainable Business Practices

The speaker I asked was Prof. Sudharto P. Hadi, MES, Ph.D., an expert in sustainable business practices and environmental conservation.

My question was, “Can you share a specific example of a company that successfully implemented sustainable initiatives while also achieving significant business growth? What key factors or strategies contributed to their success?”

This question aimed to elicit a specific example from the guest speaker, showcasing a real-world success story of a company implementing sustainable practices. It provides an opportunity to highlight practical strategies and key factors that led to the company’s success. The intention is to inspire the guest speaker to share insights and actionable takeaways that the audience can learn from and apply to their own businesses or organizations.

Georgi TodorovGeorgi Todorov
Founder, ThriveMyWay

Dr. Collins on Space Lessons for Earth

Dr. Michael Collins, an esteemed astronaut, once shared his insights at a conference I attended. When asked, “What lessons from your space exploration experiences can be applied to problem-solving on Earth?” He provided a unique perspective.

The question was designed to draw parallels between the challenges of space exploration and those we face on Earth. Dr. Collins emphasized the importance of collaboration, adaptability, and innovative thinking during missions, and how these principles can be applied to solving complex problems on Earth. His answer was inspiring, highlighting the importance of embracing unconventional approaches and breaking free from traditional thinking.

Jason CheungJason Cheung
Operations Manager, Credit KO

Puzyńska on Crime Fiction’s Popularity

I’m a crime fiction lover, and one of my favorite authors is Katarzyna Puzyńska—a well-known Polish writer and a former university psychology teacher. I’ve participated in various literary events where Puzyńska was invited as a guest speaker. Once, I asked her a question about the reasons why crime fiction was so popular. I wanted to know the writer’s perspective, as I was working on an academic paper then.

She replied, “Crime fiction, in addition to providing entertainment, serves as a mirror reflecting our reality. It can be a therapy for the readers—by making it easier for them to deal with difficult situations in life—both as a form of escape and as a way of working through certain topics.”

This answer was inspiring. It provoked me to think about human nature, “taming the untamed,” and how we can regulate our emotions by reading crime novels. To me, the fictional restoration of moral order is incredibly comforting. As an incurable idealist, I wish good could always win over evil.

Agata SzczepanekAgata Szczepanek
Community Manager, MyPerfectResume

Submit Your Answer

Would you like to submit an alternate answer to the question, “What question have you asked a guest speaker that inspired a great answer? Tell us about who the guest speaker was, what question you asked, and why you asked it.”

Submit your answer here.

Related Articles