Imagine making it through the first 26 grueling miles of a marathon and tripping and falling just before the finish line. How frustrating! All the preparation, all the work, all the sweat and you never reach your goal.
Oddly enough, this is where many presenters fail – at the end. They do a fine job of preparing, creating great graphics, practicing, presenting and then lose credibility during the most useful and treacherous part of the talk – the question and answer period.
During all other parts of your presentation, the speaker controls the content but during the question and answer period, the audience has the advantage. Whether speaking to a large audience or one-on-one, preparing for questions will help you maintain your credibility.
Tips for success:
- Brainstorm questions you may be asked and practice your responses. Ask others what questions they think might be asked. Keep your answers short and to the point.
- Allow your host to field questions from the audience as this will diffuse potential hostility.
- Repeat or paraphrase questions back to the person asking. This affords you time to think, insures you answer the right question and tells the entire audience what question you are answering.
- Listen. Many speakers cut off the question before the person asking has finished.
- Watch the person who asked the question while you speak. This will help them feel you are speaking to them and will provide you with feedback on your answer.
- When you are done with a particular answer, ask if you have addressed their question.
- Be honest when faced with a question you do not know the answer to. Encourage the person asking to write the question down so you can research it and get back to them. Try asking if some one in the audience knows the answer.
- Prepare a closing remark for when you have finished answering the final question. You get the last word – make it count.
Whether you are talking to an audience of 1,000 or speaking one-on-one, being prepared for the questions will increase your personal credibility and help you reach your desired end.
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- How Much Time Do You Really Have To Grab Their Attention? (ispeakeasyblog.wordpress.com)
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