As if talking to a large group of people wasn’t daunting enough, then comes the part where you have to deal with their doubts and queries, and this is a nightmare that most presenters face. Nevertheless, it’s an important part of your presentation. How you handle and answer questions on your presentation essentially contributes to forming an audience’s opinion of whether your presentation was a hit or miss. For any successful presentation to be a success, you need to handle all kinds of questions thrown at you. Here are a few tips on how to breeze through the Q & A session at the end of a presentation –
Know your audience
Being well-versed with your attendees is just as important as being well-versed with your content. You must gauge the kind of demographic you will be presenting, and what aspects of your presentation they seem more interested in, because that’s where you are likely to get more questions. If you’re a student presenting to a class, your professor will be the one assessing you, and they’re the ones who’ll be asking the hard-hitting questions. If you’re an expert in the subject, your audience will be eager to learn from you, so you might want to brace yourself for a hefty Q & A session.
Prepare a list of possible questions
Although this may seem like quite the task, you must anticipate the questions that may arise from your audience. This would also give you a chance to carry out further research and formulate your answers. If you find yourself struggling to come up with these questions, it is advisable to spend sufficient time familiarising yourself with the subject, so that you’re not taken aback by any of the questions asked of you.
It’s okay to not know
This is probably the biggest fear that presenters often struggle with – not knowing the answer. Remember that you’re only human and it is impossible to know the answer to every single question that may be asked. The best strategy to work with here is to simply be honest with your questioner. However, you must follow it up by saying that you would check with your sources and get back to them with a thorough response. Do not cook up your own answers merely for the sake of answering. Misleading your audience with false information is much worse than not having any knowledge on the subject.
Ask your audience to ‘contact’ you
Another great trick to ace answering your audience’s questions would be to direct them to your e-mail ID or contact number for any queries. You could also put out a disclaimer at the beginning of your presentation that the audience could ask you their questions via text or e-mail. This would give you the time and space to research and articulate your question for the person(s).
Be warm and approachable
Another important aspect of your presentation is to pay attention to the kind of tone you use when addressing your audience. As mentioned in our article on Public Speaking tips, you musn’t talk down to your audience. You need to show the audience that you are one with them, and talking to them like you’re at their level and you’re a friend more than just a presenter would make them feel like they can come up to you with whatever little doubt they may have.