You’ve just delivered an outstanding presentation. It’s now time for the question and answer session. Suddenly your self-assurance evaporates and you’re frozen like a deer in headlights, ready for the onslaught. If this feeling has ever gripped you before the question and answer session, you are not alone. Over the years, I’ve met hundreds upon hundreds of people who have cringed in fear at the very thought of taking questions from their audience.
Now is the time to dump that stinking thinking. Toss the fear and apprehension aside. The question and answer session is not there just for the audience, it’s also there for you! It contributes to your speaking success. As a speaker, it is there for you to use to your advantage. Instead of thinking, “Oh no, what if I don’t know the answer?” or “What if I fumble and embarrass myself?” look at this part of your presentation as prime-time opportunity.
The question and answer session provides amazing opportunities to share more about your message, your product or your service. Regardless of how fantastic you are as a speaker, there is only so much content you can put into every speech. That’s why a question & answer period is so important. It gives you the opportunity to expand on points and provide other examples that will support your core message. By doing this, you are adding to the knowledge of your audience as well as, increasing their understanding.
Think about the question & answer session as a rapport building opportunity. It’s a major asset to speaking success. When you interact with your audience openly and honestly, acknowledge them and respond to their questions in a positive helpful, manner you are strengthening your connection with them. You are building rapport. In turn, the audience sees a speaker who is confident, poised and in control. They know they have a professional who is an expert in the field.
The more effective you are as a communicator in answering the questions of your audience, the higher the degree of trust they will place in you and the greater your overall impact. Engaging the audience through the question and answer session provides the speaker with the perfect platform to demonstrate his or her superb communication skills, industry expertise and cement speaker credibility.
Remember when it comes time for the question and answer period, it’s not there just for the audience. It’s also there for you! When you use it to your advantage, everyone will benefit.