Master Your Message Blog

How to Conduct Effective Question and Answer Sessions

Newbie speakers get a little apprehensive about questions. There’s a fear that they’ll be caught off guard – that they’ll look stupid if they don’t have an answer . . .

And they’re right … if they’re unprepared. Just like anything else in life, looking brilliant on stage takes planning.

However, if you really do know your material, prepare properly, and follow a few basic rules, you’ll find it’s the most powerful part of a presentation.

I love question and answer sessions

I love Question and Answer sessions. ‘Cause they give me a chance to shine – I can carry on a direct dialogue with my audience and make sure any concerns are addressed.

Here’s what you do. Know your subject area and identify any potential questions that might be sensitive or controversial. Make sure you have an appropriate answer. Work with a colleague if you need to.

Treat your questioners with utmost respect. If there’s any chance the audience may not have heard the full question, repeat it. Then answer it, paying particular attention to look right at the questioner for a good part of your answer. At the end, ask them if you’ve fully answered their question.

And if you don’t know the answer say so, let them know you’ll follow up with them. Give them a time and then stick to it! This is where you score big credibility points!

Now, once you’ve answered their questions, have a second closing or summary ready. You want to make sure you get the final word and a chance to reinforce the key points you’ve made in your presentation.

A well-run Question and Answer session is the best thing that can happen to you … trust me. It’s a chance to really show what you know and be highly persuasive!

Any questions? Seriously … shoot me a question and I’ll try and shoot back an answer …

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