Any questions? That’s how the majority of presentations conclude. Some presenters hope they end up with a long, fruitful discussion on the topic they just presented. Others pray that no one speaks up so that they can leave the stage. No matter what your take on Q&A’s is, you should always anticipate getting asked a question, or getting asked nothing at all.
Let’s say you get asked a question that you don’t understand. Or you realize that an audience member took the information you just delivered in the complete wrong direction. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification and make light of the situation if it’s appropriate. It’s easy for people to get confused about the information they just heard. Maybe they zoned out for a moment and missed part of your speech. Or maybe your words took on a different meaning from their perception. No matter what, do your due diligence to make sure every audience members leaves understanding your presentation in the way you intended.
Before you have even reached the end of your presentation where you had planned on asking for questions, you get met with an intrusive audience member who demands an explanation to the point you just made. It’s best to handle the situation calmly and directly. Take a moment to clarify your statement. Or if it’s something you need to address at the end of your presentation, politely ask for the audience to hold off on their comments until the very end.
Also read A Presenter’s Guide To Handling Hecklers
After all your hard work has been put on display, you ask your audience, “Any questions?” And you hear crickets. This silent response can deflate your ego that just carried your through your presentation. It’s best to fill this dead air with maybe a quick recap or a nice thought-of-the-day to leave for your audience.
Maybe there are people out there who do want to ask you a question, but they don’t want to be the first one to speak up. Break the ice yourself by phrasing a starter question. For example, you can take about which part of the presentation had you asking certain questions. Or say something along the line of, “If I were you, I would be wondering about…” and hopefully that will get the ball rolling towards an excellent Q&A session.
No matter how your Q&A session goes, remember to always thank your audience for attending your presentation. Even if you had a tough audience member or feel like you didn’t get the response you were expecting, always end on a grateful note. Hopefully, this sincere moment along with your strong call to action will keep the audience coming back for more.
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