Answering questions

Answering questions

Before you begin your presentation, ask the introducer to include, “XXX  (your name) will answer questions at the end.”

At the end of your presentation, which should finish with a fantastic finish and not “Thank you.” or “Any questions?” you need to pause for the wonderful applause and then ask, “Any questions?”

Hold out your arms in a welcoming gesture and smile. 

If there is a long pause, you can say, “While you are thinking of your question, one I thought you might ask is… ask it and answer it. Then say, “Any other questions?”

This gives them time to think of their questions and it’s not an awkward silence.

Once you get the question, repeat it to the whole audience to make sure you did hear and now the audience can hear the question. You do not need to repeat the question word for word, paraphrasing is good. Do it to the whole room.

Then answer the question clearly and briefly.

Another good technique is to ask the room, “Who else wants to know that?”  if many hands go up, that means you can answer in some detail. If only a couple of hands go up, keep the answer very brief.

If someone asks an irrelevant question, ask them to see you later after the talk. If someone asks a question you have covered, it could be that you did not explain things well in the first place. Now explain it differently. It could be their learning style is different from yours.

If you get a hostile question, keep calm and try to see them after.

If you get a question you do not know the answer to, either tell them to give you their details so you can contact them when you know the answer or ask if there is someone in the room who CAN answer the question.

Don’t suddenly say, “No more questions.” Say, “We only have time for two more questions.” 

Finally, if someone is hogging the questions, ask them politely to see you after and do not take any more questions from them.

Remember a statement is not a question.

Good answering.

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