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How to Answer Questions in a Meeting or Presentation -5 steps

| Laurie Brown | ,

Knowing how to answer questions asked in presentations or meetings will help you feel more confident and appear more credible. Here are the five steps to help you effectively manage that part of your presentation.

1 Preparation Most of the time, people spend their time preparing for the presentation itself without considering what questions they might be asked. As part of the preparation process think about 20 questions you might be asked. Then prepare short complete responses. You may even decide to include the answers to potential questions into the body of the presentation itself. If 20 questions come easily push yourself to come up with more questions. the more you prepare this way the more confident you become.

2 Control Decide when you want to take questions: at the end, at certain points during the presentation, or at anytime during your presentation. Beware: if you are presenting to the C Suite, you may not get to decide when questions are asked. 

3 Repeat For most circumstances, repeating the question will help make sure the audience has heard the question clearly. Nothing is more frustrating than hearing an answer to a question you didn't hear. In a small group, it may not be necessary. You can simply go to number 4 Paraphrase. But if people are seated in front of each other it is necessary. 

4 Paraphrase This will come in handy if you need to take a few minutes to gather your thoughts. It has the added benefit of making sure you really understand the question.

5 Promise There are times when you might not know the answer. DO NOT make up the answer. Promise to get the questioner the answer, and make sure you add a time certain: "I'll get back to you on this by the end of the day Friday." Doing this may keep them from getting frustrated with you for not meeting their unspoken expectations.

Ask if everyone would be interested in the answer.

Using these five tips will help you shine in what may be the most important part of your presentation

Click here for a handout with these five tips to help you handle questions in a meeting or presentation:

Five steps for answering questions

Also, beware of "That's a Good Question."