Presentation Q&A: How to Handle It Better

Imagine that you are an experienced lecturer (and maybe you actually are). You invite people to listen to your presentation – there is a group of students or listeners who are interested in you and your topic.

You come into a room, tell a story, say goodbye and leave.

Something is missing, isn't it?

You are absolutely right – there are no questions and answers. At first glance it may seem that this part of the presentation, lecture or event is insignificant, but the Q&A session allows the speaker to engage the audience in his lecture, to turn them from the bored and yawning listeners to the most active participants of the whole process. Why is it so important? We'll explain how it works.

For example, during a presentation a speaker gives to his listeners several ways to stitch an edge of a fabric to make clothes. It may sound great. It may look great on video and even on a live example, which a lecturer will show you. But until you try to sew this fabric by yourself, it cannot be assumed that you have mastered the skill and came to this lecture not just to sit in a comfortable chair and drink coffee at a coffee break.

Sometimes it is not possible to provide experiments, but in these cases, a session of questions and answers allows students to take part, to deep dive into a subject and this tip greatly improves the quality of learning and results of a presentation, regardless of its topic. So, the questions and answers are the must. But this part can easily spoil the whole impression of the lecture. How to hold your Q&A session in a right way?

What to avoid?

Don't pass up a session of questions and answers. Some lecturers do this because they are afraid of losing control of the situation – to answer incorrectly, to 'lose the face', to say something wrong. But, as we said above, this session allows you to communicate with your audience better and to achieve maximum effectiveness of the presentation. Breathe deep, prepare, and do it!

Don't dodge difficult questions, it is VERY noticeable and significantly decreases all the impression of your presentation. You can politely say that you'll answer it later (if the question needs to think), but always keep your promise.

Don't say "That's a good/interesting question", it might make other people think that their questions were less interesting, or show them that you don't know how to answer immediately and start with any phrase that came to your mind.

Don't defend from the first word. They are here not to look how you fail – they don't want you to fail. If you start to defend, especially to defend yourself aggressively, this looks like your weakness and poor professionalism, so don't rely on the good impression of your presentation.

Don't present all this again. This means – control the length of your answers, don't talk too much and long. If a person asks a question about what already has been said in the presentation, so he was listening not carefully. But in this case it is not appropriate to criticize him, just briefly summarize the answer to his question.

…and if you don't have an answer?

You are not a walking encyclopedia. You shouldn't (and can't) know everything. Of course, a lecturer who gives a presentation on a particular topic, must know this subject as best as possible. But the scope for challenging questions is always unlimited - so, once a question without an answer will fall to you. Do not be afraid and make excuses. You can admit that you don't know this part of information and then use one of several ideas. First – ask your audience to find the answer together. Second – tell them that you will find an answer and tell it the next time (suitable for series of lectures). Third – you can politely decline a question (for example, it is a private one, or there is no time to answer to it etc.).

How to answer?

You receive a question. Listen to it carefully – the better you listen, the better you will answer. What to do? First you should thank your attendee for it. You can say just: "Thank you for the question", in a simple and polite way. Second step – you should 'mirror' it, as psychologists and negotiators recommend. This step is necessary to understand that you answer actually about what you've been asked. Say: "If I understand you right/correctly…" and then repeat his or her question as you've heard it from the person.

Your answer should be informed. If you don't know how to answer, it is better (really better!) to say that you don't have what to say, then to attempt a bad informed answer. This ruins respect to you and your knowledge forever. The questions and answers session should not be the last part of your presentation. Yes, most speakers put this part to the end, but after you finish giving answers, thank your audience for their attention and give an effective closure. The best is to finish with the short summary of your main point and message.

How to save up your time?

We all live fast and get information fast. The common problem of Q&A sessions is lack of time – your attendees should write questions on paper, give them to you, you should find interesting questions, initiate surveys and polls, collect information after the presentation, that makes it really problematic and decreases its efficiency.

With PodioBox all those problems will burst like a soap bubble. Questions, answers, polls, surveys, full interaction and complete audience engagement – with no software installation, exactly now and here, in real time.

Do you want to know how it works? Try for FREE for 15 days – follow THE LINK.

Good luck and let your questions be interesting!

© PodioBox 2022

Posted in PodioProfy, Tips by PodioBox on May 23, 2023.