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Oral Presentations
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Oral presentations are usually followed up with a question and answer session. To many people this can be the most exciting part of the presentation. To some others, it can be a nightmare. This is, actually, why many of the presenters try to avoid the question and answer session altogether. Below, we provide you with tips and suggestions that will enable to  handle the question and answer period more effectively.

 

1. Invite the audience to ask questions.  If no question is asked, motivate audience members by asking them a question. Say for example, "A question I'm often asked?" Ask the question and then answer it. If there are no other questions, you can finish with "Are there any other questions?".

 

2. Look at the person asking the question. However, do not continue looking at him or her once you start answering the question. Remember that you are in a public speaking situation and that all audience members should hear your answer - not just the person who asked the question.

 

3. Listen to the whole question before you begin to answer the question. Some people start answering before the entire question is even asked. If you don’t hear the entire question, you may provide an answer that has nothing to do with the question.

 

4. Repeat the question so that the entire audience can hear it.  By repeating the question, you give yourself a moment to think and you also make sure that that you understand question.

 

5. Credit the person for asking a question but do not evaluate questions. Avoid saying "That was a great question," or "Good question." If another person asks a question and you give no positive adjective, then the person may think you did not like the question and this could stifle other members of the audience from asking questions. Simply say something like, "thanks for asking that question" "I get asked that question by many people", etc. Make everyone feel equally good about asking questions.

 

6. Keep your answer brief and to the point. Do not give another speech. The audience will be bored if you take too long to answer a question.

 

7. Be honest. Do not be afraid to say, "I don't know," and move on to the next question. If you do not know an answer to a question, do not try to fake it. Tell the audience you do not know but do promise to research the answer and do get back to them.

 

8. Do not allow audience members to make extended comments or speeches. One way to deal with this problem is to watch the person's speaking rate, and when he takes a moment for a breath, interrupt him with "Thanks for your comment? Next question?" Look at another side of the room and the long-winded speaker is not sure whether he was interrupted or whether you thought he has finished.

 

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