You’ve delivered your speech—now comes the hard part.
Fielding questions can be a great way to create a meaningful, memorable connection with your audience, but unprepared speakers risk wading into an explosively humiliating disaster.
An infographic from Visme offers helpful tactics to handle pressure-packed Q&A sessions.
- The piece opens with big-picture reminders, such as, “Remember that your responsibility is to deliver the best answer to the entire group, not just the person who posed the question.” There’s also a suggestion to “scan the entire audience” and to connect questions back to your content.
- To prepare for tough questions, the infographic suggests having friends, family or colleagues throw you tricky curveballs that might feasibly come your way. Preferably, seek out an older sibling, a boorish co-worker or perhaps a filter-free grandparent who has no compunction about asking bizarre, probing, possibly inappropriate questions.
- Spend time reading content on Q&A “hotbeds” such as Quora, LinkedIn and Twitter.
- If you don’t know the answer to something, don’t try to fake your way through it. The infographic advises having a slide with your contact info handy, so you can connect with the person again—after you’ve had time to review their query.
- If someone launches a complex, three-pronged trident of a question at you, “focus on what is the most answerable or relates to your content.”
- Regardless of where the session takes you, conclude by restating the main themes and key content points of your presentation.
Q&A sessions can be risky, but speakers who field questions with aplomb can earn respect, build instant credibility and win over a skeptical audience. For more tips on how to skillfully glide through your next Q&A minefield, review the rest of Visme’s infographic below.