20 Sep What are the steps for answering questions effectively in a presentation?

There are four steps you can use to ensure you maintain rapport with everyone in the group throughout the Q&A section of your presentation.

1. Acknowledge the question asker
For example: ‘Important question Geoff, and the reason it’s important is because ….’ This is called giving status; it’s where you compliment the question asker and make them feel special. Giving status to an audience member causes a positive feeling in your audience. It also encourages further questions because it demonstrates that you will reward questions. Also, it makes the question sound interesting to the whole audience and will draw them into wanting to know the answer.

2. Paraphrase
This is where you repeat the question in your own words. You do this in case the audience didn’t hear the question and also to ensure that you heard the question and understood it correctly. Remember to also open your eye contact and body language out to the group as you repeat the question. You can use the ‘Placater’ (arms outstretched and palms up and open) and make sure your body demonstrates your intention to be inclusive.

3. Answer
Answer the question in an organised and structured way, so it’s easy for everyone in your audience to understand what you have said.

4. Check
Confirm the ‘asker’ is happy with your answer. You might like to nod your head or give some direct eye contact. Or you could ask, ‘How does that sound Lisa?’. This way, if Lisa is not happy with the answer she can add some value with another question.