How to Prepare for Potential Questions

WRITTEN June 14, 2017 Author: Jen Glantz

The presentation is over and you think it went well. But now it is time to ask the dreaded “Are there any questions?”

We all know that 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 to ENSURE that you have confidence and credibility.

However, one area of your presentation that might raise anxiety is also the area hardest to practice – the Q & A session.

Here are a few ways you can prepare for questions:


After you have planned the content, look at it through the eyes of the audience. Try to anticipate different views or where they could need further clarification. Think about areas where they may ask for specific examples or elaboration. Create a possible question list with corresponding answers that you can practice.


Do a rehearsal of your presentation in front of others and 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.


If your audience asks you to state a specific data point or definition of something and you are unsure, first acknowledge the person who asked the question with eye contact. Lean forward and 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. You can even ask the crowd if anyone has dealt with this specific issue. 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.


Be mindful of time. If time runs out and you find that there are a lot of questions left, offer to continue the conversation online.

Provide your social media – whether it be LinkedIn, Twitter, or whatever you would like to use – and even have a specific #hashtag available to highlight your discussions.

This win-win lets you stay respectful of people’s time and still let everyone have their question answered, while promoting your social media.

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:


How to Handle Questions During a Presentation (YouTube Video)

Guide for Handling Questions After a Presentation

Public Speaking Success Tips for Handling Question and Answer Session

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