Six Tips for Handling Questions with Ease

by Gilda Bonanno LLC

Often once you're finished delivering a presentation, the audience will ask questions. This question-and-answer time is still part of your presentation and you can prepare for it in the same way that you prepared for the rest of the presentation. Handled appropriately, questions give you a chance to clarify information you presented or discuss things that you didn't get a chance to mention.

Here are six tips to help you prepare for and answer questions with ease:

1) View questions as requests for information, not as adversarial challenges. Make it clear through your words and body language that you welcome questions.

2) Remember that during the question-and-answer part, you're still presenting – keep your energy up once you finish your formal presentation and start answering questions. Your presentation is not truly over until the audience has left the room.

3) Prepare for questions by thinking, “what questions would I hate to have someone ask me?" and then have an answer for them. Practice your presentation in front of others and have them come up with likely questions.

4) Listen carefully to all questions and then restate them so everyone in the audience can hear and so you have a few minutes to think. Restating the question in your own words is also helpful when the question was long-winded; it helps focus you and your audience on the one or two elements to which you are going to respond.

5) If you don't know the answer, don't bluff or guess. Instead, admit that you don't know and if it's important enough, say, "I don’t know but I’ll find out and get back to you.” Then do it.

6) If you get a hostile question, keep your answer brief, direct it to the entire audience and when you're done, move your eye contact away from that questioner.

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