I gave a 60-minute presentation this morning for the Nursing Management students at Olympic College in Bremerton. One of the questions was on dealing with questions and answers in a presentation. Here are a few strategies to consider…
– Never end with Q&A. I know you see it about 98% of the time, but it’s wrong. As Patricia Fripp says, “Last words linger and you want them to be yours!” If you leave Q&A until the end, you are subject to the quality of the questions. That’s how your presentation will be remembered and if the questions are bad, it hurts your presentation. You want your carry-out message delivered with strength and conviction so your audience is improved.
Here’s what you do. At the 10-minute mark of your presentation, say “Before I give my closing statement, we have 5 minutes for Q&A. I’m happy to stay after to respond to any questions that we don’t have time for here.”
– Always repeat the question. Many audience members may not be able to hear it and will appreciate it. In addition, it gives you a chance to make sure you understand it.
– Be in the moment. Listen attentively and try not to come up with a response in your head while the question is being asked. It’s okay to pause after the question for reflection. The audience wants the best answer; not necessarily a quick one.