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3 Tips to Help You Shine During the Q&A

Has this ever happened to you? You’ve just delivered a standout presentation that you spent weeks developing. You spoke with clarity and confidence…and then the Q&A begins, and everything changes. Suddenly you’re unsure of yourself and your confident speaking style disappears. What happened?

Q&A sessions can be one of the trickiest parts of public speaking. Since you don’t know what will be asked, you don’t have the opportunity to rehearse what you’ll say beforehand. This spontaneity makes many speakers dread answering audience questions. However, Q&A sessions are an excellent opportunity to reinforce your message and connect with your audience on a more intimate level. Since this is the final impression you leave with your audience, it’s important to make sure your Q&A session is just as engaging and dynamic as your presentation itself. Take a look at these tips to make sure you end your presentation right!

  1. When you’re asked a question, restate it before answering. This serves a few purposes. First off, it ensures that you properly understood what was being asked. Second, it clarifies the question for any members of the audience who couldn’t hear the question. Finally, it gives you a moment to gather your thoughts and formulate your answer.
  2. When listening to a question, make direct eye contact with the speaker. They’ll feel that they’re getting your full attention, and you’ll be more likely to fully understand what’s being asked. When giving your response, shift your focus and make eye contact with the audience as a whole. This will pull everyone else in so it doesn’t feel like you’re having a one-on-one conversation.
  3. If someone asks a question that is off-topic, antagonistic, or goes on for several turns, feel free to defer by saying something like, “That’s an excellent point, and I’d love to discuss it more with you off-line after the presentation.” If possible, try to schedule time in so that you can stick around for a little bit after the presentation to handle these types of questions, have more in-depth conversations, or field questions from audience members who were too shy to speak up in front of a crowd.

Give us a call and see how Corporate Speech Solutions can improve your professional life! Call us at 212-308-7725 or send us an e-mail at jayne@corporatespeechsolutions.com to learn more. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you might have!

If your communication skills are holding you back from professional success and you want to make your communication skills your most powerful professional tool, make sure to pick up a free copy of my e-book “Communicate with Clarity and Confidence!” by subscribing to our newsletter community on our website. In this free resource, I break down the myriad factors that contribute to confident communication and guide you through how to use each aspect to your advantage.

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