The Best Handful of Tips 99 – Answering Questions:
How often have you been to a meeting where the chairperson asks “Are there any questions?” There is often a deathly silence. There are ways to overcome this problem.
Question time can be very important because it can help clarify points you raised during your presentation. Allow sufficient time for questions and take care not to talk for too long during your presentation.
Five of the best tips on ways to handle questions after giving a talk to an audience
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: For more on this topic see: “Persuasive Ways” first published by Moss Associates Ltd, New Zealand and in Chinese by Shanghai People’s Publishing House and as “Secrets of Persuasion” by Cengage Learning Asia. (Available as an e-book from Amazon.com.) Also available as “Getting Your Ideas Across” from Kogan Page, U.K and a Hungarian translation published by Bagolyvar Konyvkiado, Budapest.