So, how to you bounce back from an audience question that derails the presentation?
As a former college professor, I can assure you that my students were the masters of off-topic questions intended to derail what I was going to say. I’ve got years of experience in this area.
Step 1: Smile and say, “Thank you.”
Smile really big, and thank them for the question. It takes guts to ask any question during a presentation. You’ve got an engaged person, so don’t squander that moment.
Step 2: Assess the answer.
Can you answer the question quickly and succinctly? Do you even know the answer to that question? Will the answer of the question take you so far off topic that it’s worth wasting the audience’s time?
From here it’s a “Choose your own adventure” strategy.
Step 3: Pick the best tactic to keep the person engaged and your presentation on track.