A to Z Challenge: Q is for Questions (and Answers)

Many business presentations are interactive in that the speaker welcomes questions during the talk. Then there are those that have a question and answer session afterwards. These can by quite challenging because you do not know what questions are going to be asked.

If you are trying to come across as an expert during the presentation or talk then the question and answer session will test this. So keep your wits about you and go through the following guidelines that I have compiled from experience:

  • If the audience is large it is useful to have a spotter who can point you to people who want to ask a question but may be too far away from your line of vision.
  • Choose questioners randomly and not only from the area directly in front of you.
  • If you are making use of a microphone, then make sure that the spotter (or two depending on the size of the room) have microphones with them because there is nothing worse than not hearing the question and having to ask the person to ask it again.
  • Repeat the question – this serves a dual function: (1) it confirms that you have heard the whole question, and (2) it allows the other members of the audience to know what the question is – this is especially true when the questioner does not have the benefit of the microphone, and also applies if the talk is being videoed.
  • Answer cogently and succinctly – try not to be long-winded – question and answer sessions are usually time-limited, so be as brief and thorough as you can be.
  • Say what you say you will do – if you tell the audience that you are going to take 5 questions then take only 5 questions.
  • Listen to the whole question before answering – never interrupt the person asking the question.
  • If more than 1 question is asked, be specific as to which one you are answering first, then which you will be answering next.
  • Most importantly – keep smiling.

The above guidelines are all about the process and structure of dealing with the questions. With regards to the content,  remember the following:

Hold your expertise or position lightly during a Q&A session; explain your position calmly with fact or evidence. Defending is for defence lawyers.

The next lesson from behind the lectern is R is for Rule of Threes!

This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Twitter hashtag is #AtoZChallenge and Twitter id is @AprilA2Z


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