A common way for presenters to finish a presentation is by leaving time for a question-and-answer session. Q&A is a great way for any presenter to connect with their audience and provide any information that may have been missed throughout the scheduled presentation. Q&A, when handled correctly, is a powerful opportunity for a presenter and audience to connect with the message on a deeper level. However, when handled incorrectly, Q&A can quickly spiral into audience critique or, even worse, become monopolized by a single person and alienate the rest of the crowd.
Though it may seem like random happenstance, executing a proper Q&A requires both pre-planning and on-your-feet thinking. For your next presentation, remember these 4 R’s that will enable to you to execute a great Q&A.
When a question is asked, always react in a positive manner. Show your audience that you are grateful that the audience member asked the question. This will open up the room and make everyone feel comfortable. Whether the question is relevant or not, a simple “thank you for your question” will go a long way.
A key to an effective Q&A is repeating the question. Odds are the audience member will not have a microphone when they ask their question, which is why you as the presenter must repeat the question for the entire room. This will allow your entire audience to stay engaged in the Q&A and prevent repeat questions from being asked.
When it comes time to respond to the question, allow yourself time to think before you start talking. It may feel like you need to respond right away, but your audience will appreciate a well-thought-out answer over a rushed, ineffective blurb. Take the time to form an educated response, and only when you are ready, share that response with the audience.
During every Q&A session, you can count on one thing: a question that is not relevant to the presentation you just gave. When this happens, don’t worry; with a little thought, you can reframe the question in a way that is useful for you. When it comes to reframing an off-track question, listen closely and look for the theme of the question that relates to your presentation. Take control of that theme and reframe the question in a way that is directly connected to your material.
Q&A is a powerful tool that should be utilized. However, often times in a presenter’s mind, the risk outweighs the reward. By implementing these 4 R’s, you ensure your next Q&A will go off without a hitch.
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