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10 tips for handling questions in a presentation

Do you dread the question and answer (Q&A) session of a presentation?

Here are ten tips to assist in your next presentation.

Tip #1 – Determine when

Let the audience know from the outset when you will be answering questions. Will it be at the end or during the presentation?

Having a clear structure will help members of your audience know when they can ask questions.

Tip #2 – Listen

Allow the person to complete their question and do not interrupt. By showing that you are willing to listen to them, they will be more inclined to listen to you.

Tip #3 – Check your understanding

Check your understanding of the question by using phrases such as

'So what you're saying is…'

You wouldn't want to provide an answer that wasn't related to the question that you had been asked.

Tip #4 – Maintain rapport

Be aware that your body language as well as your verbal skills are key to maintaining rapport. By maintaining rapport, your answer to the question will be listened to more closely.

Tip #5 – Make a note of the question

If you are asked a multipart or complex question make a note of key words. When you reply to the question you can divide your answer into responses for each part of the question.

Tip #6 – Answer assertively, not aggressively

Your audience is less likely to dispute information if it is delivered in a confident manner using positive language.

Tip #7 – If you don't know, say so

Your audience will have more respect for you as a presenter if you are open and genuine.

This could also be an opportunity for you to show that you're willing to investigate further and find an answer for them, giving you a good reason to connect after the presentation.

Tip #8 – Confirm

Confirm with the person who has asked the question that they have understood and are satisfied with your response.

Tip #9 – Thank the person

Thank the person who asked the question. Quite often asking a question can be as daunting as answering it.

Tip #10 – Summarise

If the question was asked during the presentation, summarise where you were at that point in time to bring the audience's focus back and explain what will be covered next.

This lets the audience know that they are still progressing in a logical manner through the presentation and that the question added value at that point in time.

If the question was asked at the end of the presentation, summarise the key points covered to assist the audience in understanding how the question was relevant to the presentation.

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Maria Pantalone

Maria Pantalone is the author of Success Talks: Conversations with Everyday Leaders. Maria works with individuals and teams to make communication their strength so that their message is heard. She provides tailored programs in presentation skills, business writing and effective communication as a leader and team member. Maria’s programs help her clients to excel in their role and be recognised as leaders in their field.
30 Business Communication Tips

Looking for tips to help you with your speaking, writing and interpersonal communication?

Then download my free ebook, 30 Business Communication Tips.

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