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As a Corporate Communication & Speech Specialist for the last two decades, I’ve learned a great deal from the clients with whom I’ve had the privilege of working. They’re all brilliant professionals within their specific industry and motivated to improve how they sound. Fortunately, they’ve selected me to help them achieve their goals.
My clients often share some commonalities and among them is a concern for how to handle the Q&A (question and answer). Here are some of the guidelines I suggest you consider.
- Ensure you maintain control and determine when you will take audience questions (e.g., after each segment, at the end, etc.).
- Let your audience know when to pose their questions and assure them that adequate time is set aside for that purpose.
- Use open-ended questions to draw out questions from your audience (e.g., What reactions do you have? vs. Any questions?).
- Anticipate at least five questions that may be asked of you. Then either build that content into your presentation or practice responding to the questions that may be posed.
- Invite your audience to submit their questions in advance of your presentation so you have a good idea of what they need or want to know.
- Be sure you fully understand a question before responding to it. In order to do this, clarify any aspect of the question if you’re uncertain about it.
- Restate the question asked of you to help others adequately hear the question. This way they can more readily follow the conversation and not get lost.
- In the event you don’t know the answer to a question, simply state “I’m not sure about that but will research it and get back to you with an answer within two days [or another time frame].” Best to never fake an answer, thinking you’ll look good by always having a response.
- If the questioner speaks with a low volume, you’ll want to ask the person to speak louder. You can also get closer to the person.
- If you hear a question that is lengthy or has multiple parts, you can restate the aspect to which you’ll be responding. Then you can offer to follow-up with the questioner at the break or at the conclusion of your presentation.
There are several other tips for responding to questions so please feel free to contact me to discuss this topic. Know that the Q&A is a crucial part of any speaker’s presentation. If handled well, your Q&A will be very effective.
You can easily reach me at 518-664-6004 or email@example.com