Question and answer sessions can take on a momentum of their own, if you are not able to manage them well. For certain once the audience spots a weakness they are very likely to exploit it – which just multiples the degree of discomfort for you.
To avoid this ever happening to you always adhere to these rules.
- Prepare answers. Based on what you know of the audience, their existing knowledge, roles and responsibilities and the material you have presented anticipate which topics will attract questions.
- Listen (really listen). Make sure you really understand the question before attempting to answer.
- Seek clarification. Check you understand the question correctly before starting your answer.
- Think. Before you speak make sure you know what you plan to say
- Be brief. Do not over answer the question as this often leads you into areas you would rather avoid and anyway the audience probably doesn’t want too much detail.
- Check. Get confirmation from the questioner that you have answered their question.
- Be honest. If you don’t know the answer, say so. BUT do commit to get back to them within a reasonable timescale – and make sure that you do!
Be very aware of your body language when answering questions and make sure that you retain a positive stance, manner, voice and eye contact with your audience through-out. Doing so will add considerable credibility to your answers. Even after the session is over be aware that while the audience can see you they are receiving non-verbal communications from you.