“I understand how to prepare for the presentation itself, but HOW do I prepare for the questions that follow?”
I get this question a lot.
Many of my clients feel shaky as soon as they enter the world of “impromptu speaking.” We can all relate to feeling vulnerable during the question and answer portion of a presentation or talk – especially when we aren’t sure what to expect from an audience.
The good news is that most questions are easy to answer. Most of your audience members want you to succeed, and their questions will reflect good will.
Once in a while a questioner won’t have your best interest at heart. He or she will ask questions that are meant to limit or restrict you in some way.
To prepare yourself for this, I recommend that you learn to recognize difficult questions and become familiar with strategies to handle them effectively.
Six Difficult Questions and Tips for Responding like a Pro:
Forced Choice Question: Example - “What is more important to you, integrity or proﬁts?”
Hypothetical Question: Example - “If earnings fall by 6% or more, will you take action?”
Empty Chair Question: Example - “Can you tell us what will be done at the top to address this crisis?”
Leading Question (with a false preface): Example - "Since layoffs are inevitable, when will you be making the announcement?”
“Let’s Debate” Question: Example - “Did you know that recent research refutes your data?”
Emotionally Charged Question: Example - “This plan sounds like another one of your crazy
Finally, if you remember nothing else, remember this: You are always in charge of the flow of the conversation, and this is especially true during Q & A.