When you give a presentation, it’s often followed by Q&A. One of the mistakes I see is that most business professionals assume that their presentation is over when the presentation is over. It’s not. Q&A is an integral part of your presentation, so make sure you get it right.
Here are three tips on how to handle Q&A like a pro.
The most important thing you can do is to listen actively, which means that you have to avoid the mistake of starting to think about your answer before the person from the audience hasn’t finished asking the question. Make sure you wait until the main concept is 100 percent clear.
Once the question is clear, before giving a reply, repeat the question to the entire audience. There are three reasons why you should do this:
- You make sure everyone understood the question, which is not obvious. Have you ever attended a conference where it was hard to hear the questions being asked? By repeating a question, you help everybody to understand what you’re talking about. And you don’t need to repeat the entire question – sometimes just a few words summarising the key concept are enough.
- You show to the person who asked the question that you value her question, that you’re listening actively (see above) and that you’re not thinking about your own agenda.
- It allows you to buy time and think about an appropriate answer.
If you don’t have an answer, don’t try to come up with one for fear of appearing incompetent. Don’t know the answer? No problem, be honest and transparent. If you can, take the contact details of the person who asked the question, do your research and then contact her once you do have an answer. This is much better and more professional than clutching at straws and pretend you know the answer when in fact you don’t.
If you'd like to learn more about how to make memorable business presentations, check out my free report Top 7 Mistakes People Make When Creating Business Presentations.