Most presentations include a Q&A portion at the end. Some speakers dread it because they never know what to expect. Questions can be particular to the subject at hand, but broad ones can pop up anytime, anywhere. Knowing the most common ones will help you stay on your toes and be prepared for anything.
Here are three frequently asked questions in presentations:
1. “Can you expound on a specific point you mentioned?”
Being thrown something like this doesn’t automatically mean your delivery was bad. After all, the fact that you’re being asked questions indicates that you’ve gotten your audience’s attention.
It might be because a part of your presentation wasn’t clear enough for your listeners. On the other hand, it could also be an expression of interest in your topic. In both cases, take it as a chance to elaborate and back up your ideas. If you missed some things during your actual speech, you can pick them back up here.
But your answers should still be based on the objectives you set out with during your presentation. Straying too far from the topic will confuse you and the audience. Trust what you know about your topic and stick with it.
2. “What is the relevance of your presentation?”
This is a question you need to address before you even start drafting your pitch. It may not be asked outright, but always consider the possibility of having to answer it during your speech.
Your presentation should always be relevant to the audience. People who are invested in something will dedicate their time and attention on it. Make sure to look up your listeners to get some valuable information about who they are and what they want to get out of your expectation. This way, you can align your vision with their expectations.
Adjust your content accordingly to accommodate their preferences. This will make your presentation’s relevance easier to spot. However, if you’re still faced with this question despite already giving an answer, just emphasize your main points in relation to your audience’s concerns.
Be clear about the connection between your message and the people’s interests. Your listeners will appreciate your presentation more.
3. “According to another source, there’s a different perspective or method available. How will you respond to this?”
Depending on how it’s asked, this question may be the most challenging to answer. Process the query first and see if it really does refute your message. If it doesn’t, point out the specific part of your presentation that’s similar to the point raised.
Just remember to remain polite and composed when admitting fault. Don’t turn the listener off by disregarding their question. If the concern is valid, acknowledge it first before enumerating your topic’s advantage over the other point.
While you want to frame your own presentation in the best light possible, you should also be a good sport when it comes to tough questions. According to speech communication professor, Stephen Boyd, this especially comes in handy when the inquiries come in the form of a loaded question or a rude comment. Respond to both by rephrasing the question into something easier to answer.
Always be the bigger person in such situations. It only shows that you’re a professional and credible speaker.
The Q&A is an important part of any presentation. It’s one of the simplest forms of audience engagement. You can see how much an audience was affected by your speech by observing what type of questions they ask. Instead of seeing it as a threat, consider it an opportunity to bring up things you forgot. Remain grounded in your objectives and keep your cool in the face of difficult questions.
There’s no one way to a good answer. It’s your ability to provide a logical and clear response that counts. A good speaker needs a good PowerPoint to boot – a clear delivery thanks to a clever mix of text and visuals can surely enhance the quality of the questions you’ll get.
Boyd, Stephen. “Question and Answer Session after the Presentation.” Succeed in Public Speaking by Ron Kurtus: School for Champions. Accessed October 15, 2015. www.school-for-champions.com/speaking/boyd_q_a_after_pres.htm
Featured Image: “Question!” by Stefan Baudy on flickr.com