5) Handling questions: Handling questions posed by the audience during a presentation can be a daunting task. Generally, one should distinguish between friendly and hostile questions and react to them accordingly. As a general rule of thumb one should never ignore a question and always treat each question asked with an appropriate and correct answer. One should also be careful about one's own behavioral patterns and facial expressions and make sure that they never show a condescending behavior. One should always turn and face directly the person asking the question. In some circumstances one may need to repeat the question again to make sure that everyone in the audience can hear the question and benefit from it and your answer. If one does not know the answer to the questions being asked then one should say so. At the same time one should stress that one will gather information and get back to the person later. Further, in a situation where one is not able to answer and react to the questioner immediately, one should not ignore him/her. Instead that person's question should be acknowledged by indicating either with a hand signal or with a nod of the head that you heard them. Then one should go back to the questioner and listen to his question. One should remember that one should be in full control of the presentation at all times and never let the questions being asked take control away from oneself as the presenter and the presentation itself.
Some expressions to facilitate discussion are:
a) Asking for opinions: (What is your reaction to . . .?),
b) Paraphrasing: (Are you asking me to . . .?),
c) Encouraging participation: (John, how do you feel about this?),
d) Asking for a summary: (Will someone please summarize the major points before we continue?),
e) Asking for clarification: (I didn’t understand that last statement. What would you do if . .?),
f) Exploring an idea in more detail: (Are there other things we should consider?),
g) Do a quick survey: (How does everybody feel about this?),
h) Reflect what you think someone is feeling: (I get the impression that you are not satisfied with my answer. Is that right?),
i) Being supportive: (Give her a chance to explain.),
j) Checking targets: (Are these the most important goals?),
k) Looking into the future: (If we run into problems, what is the next step?).
© M.Khorasani Consulting