At CommCore we regularly remind our clients about the best practices for handling challenging Q&A effectively. A great Q&A session can help you reinforce your main points so your presentation or interview ends on a high note and you leave with your credibility intact.
Here are six tips for handling the Q&A:
- Set Ground Rules: Ask the questioners to stand or to raise their hands if they have questions and to identify themselves by name and affiliation. If you want only one question per person, say so.
- Avoid Repeating Negative Questions: When buying time to think, don’t repeat a negative question. Pause. If you do rephrase the question, frame it in a more positive light before answering.
- Bridging: After first responding to or acknowledging a question, bridge to the core message you wish to convey.
- Move from Behind the Lectern: If at all possible, get away from the lectern. This shows greater openness. Request a lavaliere or wireless microphone so you can move about.
- Make Effective Use of Eye Contact: While listening to a question, look directly at the questioner. Maintain eye contact as you begin to respond, then slowly move your eye contact to others in the audience. This will make it easier to avoid a follow-up question, and select a query from somewhere else.
- Leave on a High Note: A favorite technique for ending a Q&A is to ask for “one or two” more questions. If the first question it too trivial or you don’t handle it well, you can take a second one. If neither provides a good exit, deliver a 30 second summary of your main points.