Preparation is key for any presentation you give. Whether that means spending time practicing out loud to a roomful of colleagues, or rehearsing in front of a mirror, make sure to spend quality time with your material and ENSURE that you have confidence, credibility, and a good handle on your fear when it’s “showtime.”
One area of your presentation that might increase that fear is the area hardest to practice – the Q & A session. Have you taken time to prepare for questions?
Here are three ways to prepare for questions after you have given your presentation. Work on this area and you will end on a strong note.
- Brainstorm Questions
After you have planned the content that you would like to include in your presentation, spend some time thinking about questions that your audience may have. There may be areas that they will ask you for specific examples or further elaboration. Have a question list with corresponding answers that you can practice as well.
- Ask Other People
Before a rehearsal of your presentation in front of others, ask them to write down any questions that they can think of while listening to your presentation. Chances are that many of their questions will be similar, or possibly even the same, as your “real” audience will have.
- Be Honest
If your audience asks you to state a specific data point or definition of something and you are unsure, first talk about what you DO know related to the subject. Then, let them know that you will get back to them with the best possible answer after your presentation. It’s okay not to have the answer on the spot, but be sure to follow-up afterward.
Building in time to practice and prepare for questions, just like you would practice with the contents of your presentation, is a key way to make sure that you are ready and able to provide additional information and examples that your audience might ask for.
This information is from our Public Speaking curriculum. If you’re looking for ways to improve your communication skills, register for one of our public classes.
Other Resources for handling Potential Questions: