Q & A is an amazing platform to make a stronger connection to your audience and to further drive home your persuasive message. It is a chance to have valuable dialogue with audience members, which benefits the greater audience. It also provides you valuable insight on how the audience feels about your topic, and if they are bought in, or not. Here are a few tips to help you effectively handle Q & A on your next presentation.
- Watch Your Body Language: As we present, our body language communicates to our audience. The same thing applies during Q & A.
- What does folded arms tell your audience during Q & A? It is sending a closed-off, defensive message.
- What about hands in your pockets? It is saying, I am scared, I am comforting myself.
- How about gripping the podium? This says I am hanging on for dear life!
As you are fielding questions for the audience, make sure you continue to maintain an alert posture, and use your hands to emphasis your point.
- Never Rate the Question, Restate it: We observe many presenters buying time to answer the question by using a rating statement, such as, “That’s a great question,” or “Excellent question,” before responding. If you state that one question is “good” and don’t make the same comment on the next question, how is the second audience member going to feel? Instead of rating the question, restate the question. This shows that you are listening intently, and allows your audience to hear the question, before you begin to answer it. It also provides an opportunity to restate the question in a positive way if you get a snarky question.
Here is a quick example:
Audience Member: “Why should we use your product, when we already have our own internal process?”
Presenter: “The question is regarding the value our product brings to clients that have an existing internal process.”
- Always Make Sure You Answered the Question: Once you have answered the question, verify that your response has satisfied the audience member, before you move on. An easy way to do this is to ask, “Did that answer your question?” This shows concern for understanding and it helps you connect with the audience.
Are you looking to polish your presentation skills? Check out our Persuasive Presentation Course to learn a proven process for developing and delivering a message that persuades your audience to action.