Presentations: Handling Questions with Authority

Presentations: Handling Questions with Authority

At some point during your presentation you will be expected to answer questions from your audience. They might have some burning questions that need to be answered before they buy into your message. Handling their questions with authority can make the difference for you between a successful presentation and a waste of time. This is the opportunity for the audience to test your knowledge on the topic and commitment to your message.

1. Explain at which points during the presentation you will take questions and how individuals will be recognized to speak. Point out the microphones they should use. State the rules that must be followed to ask questions.

2. Prepare how you will answer questions - especially the worst questions. Imagine how confident you will look when they hit you with the killer question - the question that is intended to skewer you to the wall. Instead you smile and calmly respond with a positive answer. Craft and rehearse the answers to these difficult questions before the presentation.

3. Maintain control of the questioning. Formally recognize the questioner before they speak and limit the number of questions. Allow only one person to speak at a time.

4. When listening to the question look at the questioner while moving away to include the whole group. Paraphrase the question for the group. State your answer to the group. Beware of answering only to the questioner.

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George Torok
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Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.
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