Presentation Skills – Asking Questions

Every presentation program should be accompanied by an engaging and evaluating question and answer round. This stimulates and encourages the audience and keeps them engrossed in the matter of the discussion. There are different stages of encouraging and handling a Q&A round during a presentation. Lets see how:

  • The questions should be pitched at the right level of the listeners
  • Leave some room to encourage exchange of questions and answers by not covering every aspect of your topic for the presentation.
  • Inform the audience that they are free to ask questions during the presentation. They can either ask them as it comes to their mind or wait for the discussion of one part to be over before indulging in a Q&A session for that part.
  • You can even invite people to present their questions in written form.
  • Create a comfortable environment for the people to freely ask questions by validating every question.
  • If the audience looks a bit shaky, shy and in-confident, encourage them to indulge in group discussion before putting their question across.
  • Make sure to answer the questions clearly and succinctly.
  • Always smile and greet the questioner with regard and friendliness.
The right way of handling questions:
  • Once you are through with your presentation, it is essential and healthy to indulge in Q&A session with the audience. However, do not let one person dominate the entire process.
  • After a person asks a question, do not lock eyes with him. Instead, return eye contact to the group to avoid indulging into a one-to-one conversation with the questioner. The best is to shift your attention and sight farthest away from the person who has put forward the query.
  • Always repeat the question yourself so as to ensure that everyone has heard the question well. This also lets you buy time to think of an appropriate answer rather than blurting out an emotion response.
  • While answering the question, concentrate on your body language, eye contact and also take note of where to pause. Remember your reply should cater to the audience as a whole and not alone to the questioner. Your responsibility and communication should refer and indicate the interest of the entire group.
Importance of encouraging participants to ask questions during a presentation:
  • It helps in assessing the very essence of the point of discussion
  • It assists in clarifying a vague comment made by one of the listeners from the audience
  • Helps in getting the initial and first hand reactions of the listeners by exploring attitudes, values and feelings
  • Aids in looking at the subject from different perspectives
  • Leads to refinement of an idea or statement made during the presentation
  • Prompts the audience to support their assertions and interpretations.
  • Encourages people to respond to one another
  • Encourages audience to investigate and put forward their assumptions through a thought process
  • Helps assess possible predictions and outcomes of the subject put forward
  • Aids in connecting and organizing information
  • Encourages people from the audience to illustrate a concept or principle with an example, as per their understanding of the matter.
  • Whatever be the case, always handle the Q&A session with authority and dedication as audience participation and reaction is the best tool to measure the success of your presentation.
Filed under: Communication Skills

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