0 Public Speaking

The Q&A process

This process can be very, very difficult because when you are making a presentation, you are in essence in control.  You have designed that presentation.  You have created some excellent visuals.  You know your presentation well enough to know what’s coming next.

The problem with Q&A is that it is the unknown.  You don’t know what is going to happen.  Somebody can throw you a question out of left field.  Perhaps someone can make you look bad.  There is so many unknowns that we need a system to be able to deal with that unknown, and be sure that you look good in the process.

When you are doing a presentation where you are selling at the end it’s best not to have a Q&A at all from stage, instead tell the audience you will answer their questions personally at the end

If you have to take questions then do it about two thirds of the way through so you can finish strongly with either a good story or your call to action/sale.

Repeating a question is often a good idea.  It gives you time to think.  It gives the rest of the audience a chance to hear what the question is.  But if the question imparts a negative, there is another way.

Listen closely to the question so that you are hearing not just the words, but the essence of the question.  Ask yourself what is at the essence of the question when all the negative, inaccurate, untrue or personal agenda items are stripped away.  Then rephrase the question around that essence, signaling to the audience that you are actually searching deeper into the topic that the questioner did!