We've all been there. You've just finished your presentations, you've touched on all your key points, and then it happens: someone's hand shoots up in the audience, and it's time for questions. Even the most practiced presenters have trouble nailing the Q & A portion of their presentations.
Q & A can be a daunting part of any presentation, but it doesn't have to be. If you prepare and consider your audience, you can handle any question with poise and grace. Here are six tips to help you nail the Q & A portion of your next presentation:
As you're preparing your presentation, make a list of potential questions that your audience might ask. Put yourself in your audience's shoes: what further knowledge would you want to walk away from your presentation with? What questions would you have after visually consuming your slide deck?
Write down the most common questions that might come up during your presentation, and practice giving succinct answers. You can add a slide to the end of your deck with example questions or prompts that your audience can use. Coordinate with your freelance presentation designer to create a visually appealing FAQ guide to help your audience along.
A closed-ended question can be answered with a simple 'yes' or 'no.' Open-ended questions require more than a yes/no response and encourage more discussion. When someone asks a close-ended question, prompt further participation by asking, "Can you give me an example?" or "How do you think that would work?" This can give you more context and help you best answer the question.
If you don't have an answer to a question, don't be afraid to take a moment to gather your thoughts. This will help you avoid sounding like you're rambling. Take another question in the meantime, ask the audience if they have any thoughts, or give related information that's helpful. You can always say, "I'm not exactly sure. Let me think about that and get back to you after my presentation." If you do this, always make sure to follow up on your promise.
Welcome any questions that come your way, whether they elicit simple or complex answers. Thank the person for asking and try to provide a helpful response. Not only does this show that you're appreciative of your audience's engagement, but it can also help build trust and encourage others to come forward with their queries.
There might be questions asked with the intent of poking holes in your argument or disproving your point. Don't be discouraged if this happens-- it can actually be a good thing! It shows that the audience is engaged and interested in what you have to say. Address the question head-on and provide evidence to back up your response.
Q & A can be a tricky part of any presentation, but with these six tips, you'll be able to handle any question that comes your way. Nail the Q & A portion of your next presentation by following these tips.
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