How Do I Handle Questions and Answers with Author Readings?

questions and answersHandling questions in your presentation can be a scary time for authors.  The fear that someone will ask a question that you can’t answer makes this section one of the most dreaded sections of the speech.  This fear is so real that presenters will often cut this area short or avoid it all together.

Here are some tips that will help you to handle the  Q&A section effectively.

1. Be a great listener.  After spending the entire time talking, now is your chance to respond and interact with your audience.  Listen to your audience’s questions completely before starting to answer.  If you don’t, you may respond inappropriately not answering what the person was really asking.

2. Give yourself time to think.  Listen to the entire question.  Repeat the question to give you some time to respond.  You can also add filler phrases like “that’s a good question”, “that’s a popular question” or “that’s an interesting question”.

3. Acknowledge your audience member for asking the question.  People appreciate acknowledgement and start to create a personal bond between you and the audience.  They start to feel appreciated for participating in your presentation and they warm up to your speech.

4. Answer the question.  Stay on track and be honest.  If you do not know the answer at the time, let them you that you will find out and get back to them.  This is an especially great opportunity if your goal is to develop a long term relationship with your audience.  Just remember to get back to them as you promised.

5. Create clean transitions between questions by creating “bridges” to the next question.  Ask your audience another question such as “Does that answer your question?”  Stay on the question until it has been answered appropriately.

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