Do you really think it’s very difficult to handle questions from an audience? it can be but there are a few points which will truly help you in the same. Now, that also matters on which topic you are speaking about and which one your audience is. say for example that you’re pitching to businessmen, then absolutely it’s very important to handle questions well.
- Well prepared for questions
When you are designing your presentation, you must have to think about what you’re likely to be asked and what your answer is going to be. One can separately make questionnaires on the same. Maybe possible you won’t want to answer a particular question there and then, so think about what you are going to answer that satisfies the questioner more.
- Be clear at the start
You can find mostly this on a webinar where from the beginning (within 5 minutes from the start) they are very much clear and may decide to take questions as you at the end of the presentation.
Whatever your style will be but be clear at the start and then stick to the same, don’t change your mind. I personally feel that the Q & A session will be at the last and answer on the same but to the point until and unless it requires a descriptive method. If you take questions as you go, then your timing will get knocked out. Also remember, an audience won’t forgive you for taking half an hour when you were only scheduled to speak for fifteen minutes.
- Never finish with questions
Research also says it’s far better to ask questions five or ten minutes before the end. It’s a strong finish. I have seen too many presentations finish on questions and the whole thing goes a bit flat – particularly if you don’t get any.
- Listen carefully
Many time it happens that the presenter/speaker is not listing properly which create a very bad impact on the audience. When anyone asked a question, listen and look like you listening. Possible that you’ve heard a million times before but for him/her it’s the first time and they don’t know or maybe they are searching for the right answer. Treat the questioner with respect and don’t trivialize their point.
- Be Thankful the questioner
I know you may think that why I have added this seprately bu I have found many speakers who are just speaking and no thank you call even when it’s necesarry. Be polite with your audience, it shows respect and it gives you a bit more time to consider your answer.
- Repeat the Bullet point / highlight the main point of the question
Many times it happens that people may not have heard the question so your answer may be irrelevant or not make any sense to them, showing a very irritating reply for them not to hear the question. Again, it gives you more time to think even on the particular question and it makes you look so clever, calm, sensible, and in control.
- Answer to the whole audience
very good points, don’t fall into the trap of only answering the questioner or may be arguing on a particular question. If they happen to be near the front then you could end up having a conversation with them and exclude everyone else.
- Simple and Easy reply
I have seen many speakers, when it comes to questions, have become more relaxed and the fact that someone is interested enough to ask them a question leads them to go on too long with the answer – DON’T.
- Don’t Bluff
Good point. See it’s not possible that everyone knows everything. you are speaking on a particular topic which means you have deeper ideas and thoughts on that topic but doesn’t mean that you know everything so if you don’t know the answer to a question, say let me connect on this after some time or maybe on the next day and then find out. Suggest to the questioner that you’ll connect them over social media platforms or on call and see them with the answer. It can even be a good way to make further contact after the presentation.
As we all know, it’s possible that you may not be asked any questions and you then have that awkward silence. May be need more time to ask or bit shyness and may take a few minutes to speak out. Why not say something like. “You may be asking yourself………?” If you still fail to get any questions then go straight into your summary and closing statement.
Handling a question and answer session in a flow and well manner, demonstrates your professionalism and reflects on your message. People would love your presentation very well.