How To Answer Questions After Presentations

Giving a great presentation is not sufficient when there is time for questions afterwards. The answers to the questions need to be great too. This posts tells you how to answer questions well in just three steps: by showing respect, paraphrasing the question and adapting the answer to your core message.

A. React with respect

As a speaker, you’re in a powerful position. You’re on stage, you have the mike and everybody can see you clearly. That’s exactly why you should be very modest. Treat the one that asks the question with respect. Don’t interrupt but nod when the questioner speaks. Praise the quality of the question subtly and appear eager to answer. Say for instance: “that’s indeed an important aspect of my presentation, let my try and explain it”.

B. Paraphrase the question

There are two good reasons for paraphrasing the question. First, the majority of the audience generally doesn’t hear or understand the question. Second, by paraphrasing the question, you can leave out some parts, shift the focus and, most importantly, use a more positive wording. If someone for example asks why the presented product is so expensive, you can rephrase that to a more positive “why does it have this price?”.

C. Adapt the answer

Questions raise opportunities: you can gain esteem by saying the right thing. For doing so, select the part of the question you can answer best. If you don’t know the answer at all, be honest but tell something interesting about a related topic to save your image as a knowledgeable speaker. Moreover, try to incooperate or add the core message of the presentation to your answer: ‘… and that is why this idea is least costly and most effective!’.

So, questions are effectively dealt with if you show respect towards the audience, rephrase the question and adapt the answer to your core message.

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