A Handful of Tips 27 –
Five of the best tips on ways to handle questions after giving a talk to an audience
How often have you been to a meeting where the chairperson asks “Are there any questions?” There is often a deathly silence.
1. Ask the chairperson to give the audience a question break
“For the next few minutes chat to the person sitting next to you. Are there any points you would like clarifying or expanding? What questions would you like to ask?”
When the meeting is called back to order, usually questions flow.
2. Filter questions through the chairperson
When questions come, before you attempt to answer them, ask the chairperson to repeat the question. This ensures that everyone in the audience has heard the question. It also gives you time to think about the answer.
3. Rephrase a question
Restate or rephrase a question to clarify it. You can always say , “As I understand it, you are asking me if…..”
Turn an obscure or pointless question into an intelligent one and one you can answer.
4. Answer questions briefly
Keep your comments short and to the point.
The chairperson should be impartial and take questions in order. If there is no chairperson restrict aggressive questioners by taking questions from others.
5. Don’t answer a question unless you know the answer
Don’t bluff an answer. If you don’t know, say so. Your audience will respect you more if you are honest with them.
You can always offer to find the answer or an explanation and let the person know.
“Questions are never indiscreet.
Answers sometimes are.”
Source: “Persuasive Ways” and “Secrets of Persuasion”