After delivering an impressive presentation, your Q & A session should enhance your ‘expert’ status not diminish it. Here are some useful tips.
Tip 1. Communicate when you’ll answer questions
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 your audience know when to raise their hand.
Tip 2. Be grateful for engagement
Thank the person who asked the question. At times, asking a question can be as daunting as answering it.
Tip 3. Listen carefully to all questions
Allow people to complete their questions without interruption. By showing that you are willing to listen to them, they will be more inclined to listen to you.
Tip 4. Confirm your understanding of the question
Check your understanding of the question by using phrases such as ‘So what you’re saying is…’
This reduces the likelihood that you’ll provide the wrong answer.
Tip 5. Maintain rapport
Be aware that both your body language and verbal skills are key to maintaining rapport. By maintaining rapport people will listen more keenly and closely to your answers.
Tip 6. Make a note of the question
If you’re 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 7. Answer assertively, not aggressively.
Your audience is less likely to dispute information if it is delivered in a confident manner using positive language.
Tip 8. If you don’t know the answer, say so.
Your audience will have more respect for you if you are open and genuine. If you don’t know the answer, tell them. The fact that you can’t answer can also be an opportunity to show that you’re willing to investigate further, giving you a good reason to connect after the presentation.
Tip 9. Confirm satisfaction
Confirm with the attendee that they’re satisfied with your response.
Tip 10. Summarise
If the question is asked at the end of your presentation, summarise the key points to assist the audience in understanding how the question is relevant to the presentation.
If it’s asked during the presentation, answer the question then bring the audience’s focus back to your current point, summarising where you are at. This lets the audience know that you’re still progressing in a logical manner and that the question added value.
I hope these ten quick tips will help you blitz your next presentation Q & A session.
What are your tips for a successful presentation Q & A session?