Many presenters fear the question and answer session at the end of their presentation because they feel that they will lose control of their input. However, questions are a vital part of the presentation for the whole audience as they allow for clarification of learning. The presenter can enhance the effectiveness of the question and answer session by treating it as a formal part of the presentation.
The following tips are extremely helpful for handing audience questions during a presentation:
Handling Audience Questions
There are two important parts to delivering a presentation effectively in the workplace. The first part is the actual presentation, and the second part consists of the answer and question forum.
Establish Protocol Early
The most important tip for handling audience questions during a presentation is to establish protocol early and explain how you will take any questions at the end of the presentation.
Sometimes audience members can be shy about asking questions. One tip is to initiate questions by asking aloud, ‘Who has the first question?’ or ‘Who is going to lead off our discussion?’ If you are caught in a situation where all you receive is blank stares and no questions from the audience, it is time to start the query yourself. One option is to tell the audience, ‘One question I often get is ?..’ This way, you can open the door and hopefully stir up some participation.
A good presenter will take an audience question and repeat it back to the individual. This helps in two ways. For one, it allows you to repeat the question so the rest of the crowd can hear. Secondly, it allows you to make sure you heard the question correctly.
Keep Responses Short
Presenters need to remember to keep the answers short when responding to audience questions. It is appropriate to even answer just yes or no. The presenter wants to provide answers to as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time
Some questions might be difficult to answer or be controversial. It is best to avoid any arguments with audience members. Try and explain in simple terms, and if the audience member tries to pursue a fight publicly, it is best to let the individual know that you would be
happy to speak to him/her privately after the session. .
You can deliver a great presentation. But if you fumble in responding to questions you can damage your credibility and sink your presentation in a flash.