Preparing For Q&A Sessions

Image: Kris Krug/PopTech(flickr)

Allowing your audience to ask questions can be quite daunting for most presenters because you never know what you’re going to be asked.

The best way to reduce the number of tricky questions you can be asked is by careful preparation.

Look at your presentation from your audience’s point of view and try to think of as many questions as you can that they may possibly ask and make sure to have answers to all those questions ready, just in case someone asks.

Next ask some colleagues or friends to listen to your presentation. Find a wide range of different people with different perspectives and personalities i.e. people who think in a different way to you, people who have no problem telling you what they think, people who have the creativity to come up with some really horrible questions, people who know more than you about the topic and people who know nothing about your topic, in short anyone and everyone who can help you compile a comprehensive list of questions that reduces the chance of  you being given a truly terrible question on the day of the presentation.

Get them to ask questions for any part of your presentation that they are:

  1. Curious to know more about
  2. Confused about something that you just said
  3. In disagreement with something that you covered, either based on their own knowledge or from other talks on your topic
  4. Reminded of something else relating to your subject that you haven’t covered but want to see if you know the answer

Make note of every question and be sure to have a good answer for every single one. Test the answers with your friends and colleagues to ensure that you’re properly answering the questions asked.

This preparation will make the difference on the day and leave the audience thinking of you as professional and an expert on your topic.