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Question and Answer Session: The Most Important Elements of a Presentation

Ulfah Alifah
Ulfah Alifah

Table of Contents

Question and Answer Session After Presentation Is Important

Cory House, speaker and Microsoft MVP, posted polling on his Twitter account. The polling is about whether a question and answer session after the presentation is needed or not.

Most of his followers voted for taking questions from crowds (64%). But in his article in Medium, Cory stated that he belongs to the minority. He prefers to chat after the presentation than provide a q and a section. Q and A are so common that speakers do it by reflex. When they’re done talking, they say, “Any questions?”. All too often, this is a mistake, as Cory said in his article in Medium.

According to Gary Genard, “There’s a group of people who actually can’t wait for a Q and A session because at last, they can have a true discussion with his audience.” No wonder Q and A is, as he calls it, a “forgotten avenue of audience persuasion!” Do all of the above with style and skill, and you’ll go a long way toward strongly bolstering your authority and credibility with your listeners.

So, from those statements, people are still curious and ask whether a question and answer session after a presentation is valuable or not. So, let’s analyze the pros and cons first.

Pros of Question and answer session

You can also invite questions during speech sessions. Questions during the talk break up the monotony of one person talking. They’re much more likely to be focused and applicable. They take less time because the context is already set. And, since the person asking the Question understands they’re cutting into your speaking time, they typically keep their question brief.

It’s your chance to clarify your argument – Challenging yourself to summarize essential information into a too-brief presentation period most of the time. Because Q and A appear audience-controlled rather than a speaker-controlled plus, it allows you to expand your argument while responding directly to your listeners “off the clock.” The atmosphere created should feel more relaxed while giving you greater scope to deepen your audience’s understanding.

Q and A is more conversational and natural than a one-way speech- All effective public speaking is informal. Audiences want speakers to communicate with them honestly, openly, and in everyday language. The back-and-forth of Q and A should feel more comfortable for you and your listeners.

Your presentation may have confused some audiences by making them understand Q and A. Therefore, Q and A are your golden opportunity to continue, inform, and convince at last as you terminate your presentation. Remember that presenters who handle themselves with style and confidence in the rough-and-tumble of Q and A may win over some listeners for the first time! To understand your audience better even before you start speaking.

Whichever you pick, there is one thing you must do: A good speech is a performance. Like any performance, it should end decisively. Preferably with a thoughtful, rehearsed, and memorable finish. For better or worse, people remember the ending most clearly.

Cons of Question and answer session

Sitting in Silence is No Fun- Sometimes, the speaker forgets to repeat the question asked. Unless it’s a small room, much of the crowd can’t hear the question. So much of the room is temporarily unlinked, waiting for an end to the question they can’t hear. During this time, many attendees are looking at their schedules and wishing they could politely leave.

But, if you’re presenting in a hall, on stage with such a crowd, you better understand that not everyone is interested in asking a question. Cory House suggested in his article to chat after instead. Before closing, you can say, “I’m happy to take questions. Please come up and chat”. Often many people come forward, and we chat as a group. Provide your contact info at the end so attendees can email or tweet later. You can also often offer a 5–10-minute retrospective out in the hall immediately after the session. This way, you set people free to leave as soon as the structured talk is complete.

The entire crowd is held captive until they’re dismissed – Until the speaker says “thank you” to release the public, everyone is stuck listening to other people’s questions about whether they like it. If an attendee has no questions, they should feel free to go. Forcing the entire crowd to sit through other people’s questions is a waste of their time.

Four types of Questions and answer your presentation needs

When hearing the phrase “presentation Q&A,” the first visual that appears to mind likely includes a presenter calling on members of the masses. They raise their hands in expectation of receiving an answer to an inquiry. The role of questions and the act of questioning during a presentation is much more expansive. So, here are the four questions you should add to your next presentation:

1. Rhetorical Questions

You’re probably thinking, “but doesn’t a rhetorical question imply that you won’t receive a response?” And you are correct. But you are also missing the bigger picture. A rhetorical question puts your audience in the right frame of mind to consume your message. After you read or hear a rhetorical question, your curiosity is piqued. Your brain becomes anxious to discover the answer and get some closure. And if a presenter is really in tune with their audience, they can readily close the gap and furnish the information wanted by all in attendance.

Presentation Tips:

If you want to maximize the result of your content, ask multiple rhetorical questions in a row – each one more specific or more monumental than the one before. Alternate your pacing if you’d like to create an urgent and persuasive tone.

2. Interactive Questions

An article by the Harvard Business Review detailed four different types of advice-giving and receiving: discrete advice, counsel, coaching, and mentoring. A presenter will probably deal with the first 2 – discrete advice and counsel in a presentation situation. Perhaps the best use of an exciting question for polling would be for a subject where you weigh options or try to figure out how to deal with a circumstance—hoping to get feedback on the idea behind a new product offering? Form a question and find out from the consumers themselves.

Presentation Tips:

To spur audience engagement, inject a poll or two into your presentation through LiveSlides, where you can embed polls into your PowerPoint or Keynote deck. Use a poll question to express an interest in audience members’ opinions and cultivate credibility by relaying the results to support one of your main points.

3. Temporal Questions

Sometimes, if delivered precisely, a question can facilitate the visualization of your message for your audience while also grounding it at a specific time. In Ron Paul’s final speech to the United States Congress, he asked a series of “What if?” questions to illustrate the current problems with the country’s foreign policies, as well as provide a vision of a world where his fears aren’t addressed – a robust storytelling structure for a presentation narrative.

Presentation Tips:

Consider opening your next presentation with a question that creates a path for the rest of your content. For example, suppose you are a small-town barber who landed a job cutting celebrities’ hair like Adam Levine’s. In that case, you might start your presentation with this question: “What if I told you that I never wanted to follow my dad’s, grandpa’s, and even great-grandpa’s footsteps and become a barber? What if I never went through the traumatic experience that shaped who I am and how I work today?” The temporal Question effectively builds suspense and defines the setting – the time and place – for the story.

4. Guiding Questions

Using questions to direct the story and broader plot and the thought process of listeners can increase message retention by strengthening connections and invoking curiosity. According to a study by researchers at Washington University, students who asked conceptual questions performed better on tests. On top of enhancing their critical thinking skills, they also retained the information collected through detailed questions.

Presentation Tips:

Carve a break into your presentation and include a slide or two with some questions to garner audience input. Ensure that the Question is relevant to a topic recently discussed and select wording that aligns with the tone of the presentation while also being best able to stimulate the responses you implore. You can do this by using positive or negative terms within the question construction or using the passive tense to use the active. When attempting these strategies, switch up the question format and structure to determine which option best fits your narrative.

Even seasoned public speakers can be terrified by the thought of the Question and answer session after presentation. You may believe that your audience should be a part of your presentation but still be worried when inviting questions from the audience. One reason for this is the lack of control. After all, as the presenter, you’ve got no idea what audience members will ask.

Another concern about taking questions in presentations is that you won’t know the answers. If you’re new to public speaking, taking questions can be even more nerve-wracking. Some presenters feel they’re not good at improvising with surprising questions. Overall, speakers worry about looking stupid in front of the audience. There are tips for controlling all those issues in this guide.

So, why is it essential to include a question and answer session after presentation? There are several benefits to inviting questions from the audience at the end of your presentation. For a start, your audience should be a part of your presentation if you want to make your session more exciting and engaging. Taking feedback questions for a presentation is one way to do this. Yet there are at least four additional reasons why you should love Q & A, or at the very least look forward to it:

Reason 1: Your presentation may have confused some audience members or left them unconvinced

Let’s understand your audience better even before you start speaking. Remember that rhetoricians who handle themselves with style and self-confidence in the rough-and-tumble of Q and A may win over some audiences at first sight! In such cases, Q and A is your golden chance to either continue, inform or convince at last as you conclude your presentation.

Reason 2: It’s your chance to clarify your argument, give examples of your solution in action, or overcome opposition

Most of the time, you feel challenged to cram essential information into a too-brief presentation period. Because Q and A appear audience-controlled rather than speaker-controlled, it allows you to expand your argument while responding directly to your listeners “off the clock.” The atmosphere created should feel more relaxed while giving you greater scope to deepen your audience’s understanding.

Reason 3: Q & A is more conversational and natural than a one-way speech

All effective public speaking is interactional. Audiences want speakers to communicate with them honestly, openly, and in everyday language. Too often, speeches have the feeling of a monologue, delivered through a one-way dynamic to a polite but anesthetized crowd of onlookers.

Reason 4: Q & A demands your absolute best

Let’s face it: A question-and-answer period is a tremendous challenge. You can practice your presentations regularly since you can never know what queries and objections may come your way when inviting your listeners to respond.

A Q and A session is a great chance to connect more with your audience and complete the process that you’ve started with the presentation. Most presentations are concise and don’t cover everything to avoid boring the audience. So, responding to questions gives you another chance to showcase your expertise by expanding on points made in the main presentations.

Another great thing is that a lively question and answer session in a presentation tells you that people are interested in what you’ve got to say to them and your topic.

Public Speaking Trainer Gary Genard says:

Too often, speeches feel like a monologue, delivered through a one-way dynamic to a polite but anesthetized crowd of onlookers. The back-and-forth of Q and A should feel more comfortable for you and your listeners. Best of all, when you’re conversing about a topic you genuinely care about, all of your best qualities as a speaker will emerge.

The Q and A is excellent feedback for a presenter and gives you the confidence you need for future presentations on your topic. And a good Q and A shows your expertise.

Presentation questions don’t have to take you by surprise. As a presenter, there are several tasks you can do in advance, so you’re ready for anything your audience throws at you. Here are some tips to help you handle presentation questions:

1. Hold a briefing session before the event

Ensure that everyone is informed and ready for your event by having a briefing session beforehand. In this briefing, you should invite the speakers or presenters, moderators, and people working behind the scenes, such as stage managers. You can make sure that everyone is prepared for the event and iron out any issues, thus providing the best experience for your audience. Here you should run through the event program and establish any time limits or rules before the event.

2. Enough time

It is easy to think of the Q and A as an afterthought, although it is anything but! Don’t give in to the temptation to get caught up in the flow of your presentation and go over speaking time. You will get more information in a more digestible format during Q and A. Moreover, consider not bunching all your Q&A time to the end, but plan for some interactive Q and A sessions throughout your speaking time (see tips 6 & 7 below!) Budget 25% of your total time for the Q and A sessions at an absolute minimum.

3. Stick to the time limit

As well as making sure that you have enough time for questions, make sure that you stick to that time limit. If you find many questions left, consider continuing the conversation online and let your audience know that they can do this by following a specific hashtag. This way, you can stay respectful of people’s time while allowing everyone to have their questions answered.

4. Great moderator

If you need someone to moderate your Q and A session, choose your moderator carefully. The role of the moderator is to be the connection between the audience and whoever is answering the questions. They ensure that the questions are appropriate and that the event moves forward and doesn’t get stuck on a particular question.

The moderator should be someone who likes being on stage, can improvise under pressure, and isn’t scared of leading the conversation but not controlling it. If you are the moderator, make sure that you are prepared and briefed all involved in the event. Remember, a great moderator facilitates the conversation and doesn’t join in or take over.

If you’re an expert on the subject you’re presenting on, and there’s little that can faze you. One of the best preparations is to know your topic inside out. Q and A sessions transform the presentation from a pointless exercise in lecturing to a natural and fruitful learning experience.

a. When presentations are interactive, audience members are significantly more likely to pay attention, stay engaged, and stay tuned in.

b. question and answer session after presentation shows how others perceive your work

c. Question and answer session after presentation allows you to get more information about your product or topic.

Building question and answer session after presentation into your talk fundamentally changes the dynamic between you, the speaker, and the audience — in a good way. We, as speakers, sometimes forget that the point of the presentation isn’t to let us talk. It is to create an exchange of views and information.

When preparing to invite questions from the audience, research is vital. If you know who you’re presenting to, tailor the information to their interests. This research will also help you figure out what might be coming up in the Q and A.

Your presentation question session will be more accessible if you’ve got some new information left to share. If your presentation is concise, you’ll have valuable data to make the final cut. Some of this can help you answer your audience’s questions.

Content Strategist and Founder of Write Minds, Jacob McMillen, says:

My biggest fear heading into my first Q and A was that the audience might not ask interesting follow-up questions so that I could keep the discussion moving. I overcame this fear by spending a bit more time than necessary to prepare for the session and think through what I’d say if it were left to me to fill dead space.

Responding to questions with a little preparation. Go through your presentation and see where audience members might want clarification or extra insight. Do more research so you’ve got supporting statistics on hand. Check to see if there’s a related topic that might follow naturally from something you present.

Related to that, you can subtly invite questions from the audience by giving them a teaser. This encourages them to ask questions about the information you’ve already prepared. For example, if you use a surprising or interesting fact, it’s almost sure someone will ask for more information.

There’s no set time frame for responding to questions. As the presenter, it’s entirely up to you to run a question and answer session for your presentation. There are two options:

a. Let people ask questions throughout your presentation.

b. Take all questions at the end.

c. Each method has pros and cons.

If you go with interactive questions for your presentation and take them throughout, it’s easy to tell when your audience is engaged. That’s affirming, and you also won’t have to remember to come back to a topic later. But taking questions throughout can also interrupt both the flow of the presentation and your train of thought. That can make it harder to follow for your audience.

If you take presentation questions at the end, you can focus on delivering the best presentation without worrying about interruptions. That makes it less interactive during the presentation itself. But it means both you and your audience can easily follow the issue you’re presenting.

Amma Marfo, Professional Writer, Speaker, and Trainer, says:

If the topic is one where understanding is needed to move forward (e.g., if I’ve shared a framework or am building layers of knowledge), I’ll take questions throughout. I’ll hold until the end of it’s less essential that all points are understood to move forward. I find myself asking questions about digital/virtual events because it’s a means to ensure that participants are engaged. These questions can take the form of “what questions do you have?” (preferred to “any questions?” because someone might hedge if they think no one else has questions) or can show up in the form of polls, thumb scales (thumbs up if you feel good about this, thumbs down if you feel bad), or even share an emoji if I feel confident that the audience will universally know how to do so on their device 🙂

A good middle ground, especially for a more extended presentation, is to take questions at specific times. For example, if you’re making several main points, you could have a brief question and answer session after presenting them.

You can signal your audience that it’s time for questions by adding a Q and A slide to your presentation. Include:

a. The Presentation Title

b. Your Name

c. The Word “Questions”

Many premium presentation themes include the image of a well-designed question for your presentation.

11. Use the right tools and equipment

Although the above tips will already get you a practical question and answer session after presentation session, tech can help you knock it out of the park.

Use software that interacts with your audience. Collecting and fielding questions a cinch. Instead of a mic, invest in tools that allow everyone to submit a question via mobile devices. This used to be done via a system called clickers. Clickers were clunky, expensive, and required maintenance.

Currently, you can invest in a software package that will allow your audience to submit questions or answer a poll on their mobile devices. Because these systems allow your audience to answer a question in real-time, you can poll and show them the results, sparking real conversation and idea-building. The cost (to you or your company) is minimal; the engagement benefits are enormous.

12. Don’t start a debate – facilitate that afterward

You might find that some audience members want to engage in a discussion during these types of events, especially around controversial topics. The presenter and the moderator should avoid indulging in such meetings during the actual session as they take up time and are often only interested in debating.

13. Keep some slides in reserve specifically for Q&A

Have you ever written a presentation and found that some slides do too much detail and detract from the presentation flow? Could you not throw them out? Keep them on hand for the Q and A sessions. When a question comes up more in-depth, pull out your prepared slide and look like an absolute ace for having the information ready!

14. Neutralize trouble with openness

When you receive a relevant, thoughtful question that allows you to talk about your product, answering it is easy. But what if you get an irrelevant question, a meandering one, or, worse, a hostile one? Even these challenging situations can be turned to your advantage.

a. Thank the person asking the question regardless. This is especially effective for neutralizing hostile questions posed because the asker is showing off. By thanking them for the new perspective, they’re providing and promising to look into their perspective in the future. This shows your openness without giving up your authority.

b. If possible, pivot irrelevant questions toward something else that you want to address in your question and answer session after presentation but have not had a chance to. One technique for doing that is to rephrase the question: “If I understand right, the question is…” and then pivot toward the Question you want to answer. Also, it works for situations when you can’t quite hear the question, the asker has a strong accent, or you’re just unsure what they’re asking!

c. Prep an answer for odd and inappropriate questions that allow you and the asker to save face. For example, you might say, ‘That’s a great question, and although I don’t feel it’s appropriate to answer at this time, I’d be happy to address it one-on-one after the session.’

All of these strategies reinforce your authority in the room. Others in the audience will be able to tell that the Question is irrelevant or hostile. And they will appreciate your poise in handling such questions effectively.

15. Leverage anonymity

Another positive aspect of using software with your Q and A session is enabling people to either ask questions anonymously (when they submit them before the talk) or provide their opinion anonymously (when they vote in a real-time poll). Because the input is anonymous, there’s no risk or judgment from peers or bosses, and people feel liberated to pose great questions.

16. Democratizing discussion

Using live Q and A software for your software means that you are no longer locked into using Q and A at the end of your talk.

Instead, you can deploy questions before, during, and after your talk to create a feedback system that will deliver maximum insight and exchange for you and your audience. You can:

a. Ask your audience to submit their questions ahead of time. Although you’ll get some unrelated questions, this is a great way to go outside your head and figure out what your audience wants to know.

b. Allow your audience to vote on the submitted questions. By letting people upvote their favorites, you will end up with a list of priority questions ahead of time.

c. Rewrite two or three of the submitted questions as a multiple-choice poll; administer the votes in the beginning and middle of your talk.

d. After each mini-poll, ask audience members to discuss results in minor (5-7 persons) groups before bringing the room back together.

Just make sure to keep it short and direct! e. Put your closing remarks after the Q and A. Whether you have one Q and A session at the end or intersperse questions, polling, and discussion, delivering your closing remarks after the Q and A reasserts your control of the information and allows you to underline the conclusions of the discussion.

As you can see, the Q and A session is not something to fear but a vital tool for making sure your presentation gets its point across. The more well-developed, active, and engaged your Q and A session, the more successful your overall presentation

Tips on responding to questions

Ready to invite questions at the end of your presentation? Here are some tips on handling your Q&A session:

Handling questions in presentations starts with listening. Listen to make sure you understand what the audience member is asking. Don’t be afraid to ask the person to repeat the question if you think you’ve missed something. This is also an excellent way to get more thinking time.

Acknowledge the questioner, even if it’s simply by saying: “that’s a good question.” This makes your audience member feel good and buys you a little time to think about your response.

Audience members want to know you empathize with their concerns. If you know your topic, you’ll understand why they’re asking a particular question and can use that as a lead-in to your response. Consider what you would ask at the end of your talk if you were in their shoes. Think about three common themes that come up in the Q and A:

What’s the downside for them?

What would your audience see as the biggest obstacles to doing or acting on what you’ve talked about? Be ready to show you recognize their concerns, even if you don’t have a simple answer to the problem.

What else do they care about right now?

Perhaps they’re trying to implement a new strategic plan or busy building relationships with external stakeholders. Think ahead about how your material might link to those broader issues.

What happens next?

People have a built-in desire for clarity about certainties in a changing situation. You might not have a crystal ball, but you can probably say something about the next step that flows from your presentation.

Considering your audience’s perspective helps you stay calm by reminding you that you’re dealing with human beings, not enemy combatants.

4. Appreciate the conversation

Recall that questions are good. Your head is less likely to be on the defensive — which means you’ll be more likely to bring your best self to show. Besides, reframe the question and answer session after the presentation as a rewarding conversation that signals healthy action. Two specific things to try:

• At the moment after speaking, as the first person puts their hand up or opens their mouth to speak, tell yourself silently: “Aha, good — they’re interested!”
• Start your answer by appreciating the Question. Try something like “I appreciate you raising that,” or “Thank you, that’s an important topic.”

The second of those approaches gives you an extra moment to think about your reply and make your audience feel valued.

5. Answering different types of questions

Questions from the audience tend to fall into three categories: good questions, challenging questions, and unnecessary questions. Commenting on the Question before you begin the answer will give you some time to think.

6. Staying in control

Start by listening carefully to the Question to show that you understand and pay attention. Be calm if the questioner asks you to explain something you have already defined in depth during your presentation. Don’t roll your eyes or sigh in anger when you hear a question. These are insulting flags. Instead, after the questioner has finished speaking, say you’ll be glad to clarify the point. Otherwise, you need to tell me that you have already done so politely.

Remember to stay on route and answer the precise question. If one person tries to ask some questions, explain that you could speak personally afterward, but you’d like to give more people a chance to ask inquiries for now.

Maintaining visual control

a. Adopt a comfortable position where you can look at all sections of the audience.

b. Use eye contact techniques.

c. Use walking patterns to focus and refocus the attention of the audience.

Maintaining verbal control

a. View the question and answer period as an opportunity to reinforce your significant points.

b. Restructure difficult questions so you can answer them to your advantage.

c. Listen to the intent of the message instead of the tone.

d. Keep your answers brief so as not to appear to be defending yourself.

Remember that a speaker is decided from when they enter the room until the last Question is replied to, so be polite, helpful, and professional in answering questions.

7. Start with an agreement

Sometimes a person asks a question because they disagree with you. This can be an incredibly fragile moment to manage because disagreement all too easily puts people’s brains into protective fight-or-flight mode. To help both think openly and constructively, start your response by focusing on where you consent. Follow these steps (adapted from game theorist Anatol Rapaport) to defuse tension:

a. Briefly playback your perception of their view. “If I understand you right, you feel….”

b. Outline wherever you agree. “We’re aligned on much of this. We both think that… and….”

c. Home in on where your primary disagreement lies. “The one place we differ is….”

d. Tell what’s developed your point of view. “The reason for my viewpoint is that….”

We saw this done well by a senior manager in a tech company challenged by a colleague on her ambitious timeline for a new product launch.

8. Parry with curiosity

You can’t prepare an answer for this sort of unpredictable Question. But you can be ready with a helpful state of mind: curiosity. Learning is inherently rewarding to our brains, which is why asking a question of your own can be just enough to get you off the defensive. For example, you might say:

a. “Can you tell me more about what’s driving your question?”

b. “That’s intriguing — is this something you’ve experienced yourself?”

c. “Is there a specific reason for your concern on this?”

And if you’re still left scratching your head after that gambit, go back to the first strategy above and appreciate the horizon-broadening input.

Now and then, you get a question you really can’t answer on the spot. There’s no need for terror. Simply let the questioner know that you’ll follow up afterward and do it as soon as possible after the presentation. That may even be a good time for some self-deprecating humor.

You don’t have to answer all questions in presentations yourself. If there’s an expert in the audience who’s likely to have relevant information, call on that person. If you know the list of attendees, give that expert some warning. Either way, it’ll make your Q and A even more helpful for your audience.

If an audience member starts to ramble, don’t be afraid to rein them in. Gently interrupt and clarify to keep the session relevant, engaging, and on-topic for the rest of your audience. Jacob McMillen says:

Staying on topic is just about spending more time on the things you feel are “on the topic” and less time on those things that aren’t. If the audience member tries to dive into something that I don’t want to take about, I just give a brief answer that communicates I’d prefer to move on. When I’m answering something I want to talk about, I dive in and take some time to give a comprehensive answer.

If you’re presenting online, taking questions can be slightly more complex. Often, people use a chat function to post questions during the presentation. It’s essential to have someone monitor the chat so you don’t miss anything.

Finally, summarize your presentation at the end of the Question and answer session after presentation. This lets you leave your audience with the core message you want to get across.

13. Encourage a shy audience

What if no one has a question? Sometimes you just need to give it a few more seconds; eventually, the nervous energy in the room should be enough to get someone to raise his hand.

If not, you need to determine if there’s really no interest or if people just need a nudge to get started. Here are a few ways you can encourage participation and get the Question and answer after presentation off and running:

• Have a plant in the audience. If you suspect you’ll have a shy audience on your hands, you can ask a colleague in the audience to start the Question and answer after presentation with a question prepared in advance.

• Bring up a common question that you believe will interest listeners based on your experience or your research about your audience.

• Take a poll. Ask the audience members to express their opinions or share experiences about an issue you addressed in your presentation.

Interactive question and answer session after presentation are all well and good, but what happens if an audience member strongly – and vocally – disagrees with what you’re saying. An excellent way to handle disagreement is to:

• Of course, you need to acknowledge the Question.

• The questioner’s perspective understanding.

• Identify where you agree (hopefully, you’ll agree on some points).

• Must know why your perspective is different – and why – on issues where there’s disagreement.

Amma Marfo has this to say about handling disagreements:

It depends on whether the disagreement is grounded in information or ideas. If it’s an informational dispute, I try to cite sources and encourage others to know additional information. Those tend to be easier because there’s a theoretical right answer.
The challenge is if the dispute is ideological (or masquerading as informational). When those disputes arise, I state my position and try to hold it there. If it escalates to where I can tell the person wants to be heard or “heard out,” *and the argument is a good faith one*, I refer them to another way to get in touch. Let’s continue this over email or perhaps a phone call.

Here’s how to make the most of Q and A

There are four rules on how to craft great Question and answer session after presentation that mesmerize your audiences, and the first things are that you need to:

1. Set the rules at the opening

a. Tell the audience when and how you will handle questions at the beginning of your presentation.

b. Unless you’re giving a formal speech to a large audience, it’s best to take questions throughout your talk, not just at the end.

c. You could save Q and A for specific times during your presentation, like at the end of each major section.

d. Whatever you decide, let the audience know.

2. Field questions fairly

a. Listen to the Question before rushing to answer it.

b. Find out what the person wants to know without getting hung up on how they ask the Question and without embarrassing them.

c. Correct factual errors or misunderstandings immediately.

d. Defuse loaded questions with humor, if possible.

e. If necessary, repeat the Question in a summary fashion so everyone can hear it.

f. Give all audience members a chance to ask questions.

3. Answer questions tactfully

a. Use your answer to reinforce or clarify your main idea. Don’t give a new speech.

b. Answer the Question as directly as possible without being abrupt.

c. Begin by speaking directly to the person who asked the question. Then turn to someone in another part of the room, so you don’t get caught in a one-on-one dialogue.

d. Be respectful at all times, even when–or especially when–you disagree.

e. Keep your sense of humor.

f. Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.” Offer to get back to the person with the answer. Or, if appropriate, ask the audience for their insights.

g. When a question requires a lengthy answer, give a summary, admit there’s more to be said, and offer to discuss it later with the person.

h. Retain control of the presentation, decide when to end the discussion, and move on.

4. End the Q&A with a summary

a. Don’t end your presentation simply by answering the last questions and saying, “Thank you.”

b. Answer the last question. Then wrap up your presentation with a one or two-sentence summary.

See also:

12 Presentation Design Principles Every Non-Designer Needs to Know

Introvert vs Extrovert Presenter, Which One Are You?

Top Tips To Help Plan Your Marketing Presentation

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Great Design Team Management Tips to Avoid Your Work Exhaustion

After presentation, accepting question and answer sessions is effective in a small group, like in a class or a meeting room. This way, everyone can pay attention to the Question, give feedback if needed, and the speaker can answer directly without repeating the Question. The one who is still confused can engage with the Question and make them more interested in the topic.

There is no dilemma that a question and answer session after presentation is needed to build communication with the audience. It is necessary and requires different treatment depending on the situation and how many crowds attend your presentation.

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