Jerry Seinfeld’s joke on how the average person would rather be in the coffin than give the eulogy at a funeral is famous because it has truth in it. People are generally scared of and avoid public speaking. It is even worse when you may have to field difficult questions from stakeholders. In a post at the Project Risk Coach, Harry Hall gives some tips on how to respond to those difficult presentation questions.
Decoding Difficult Questions
Before you even present, go over your presentation with someone and have them ask you some questions about it as a devil’s advocate. Their goal is to ask you the tough questions now when there’s no pressure so you can be better prepared for the real thing.
When it does come down to the actual presentation, answer each questioner by stating their name unless you don’t know the names of everyone in the room. You should then rephrase the question back to them so you understand the question and have some extra time to think of an answer. Alternatively, ask them to repeat the question. Don’t ramble on with an answer when you have one; answer succinctly. If you can’t answer the question, redirect to someone else in the room if you feel that they are more equipped to answer. If not, don’t be afraid to say you don’t know the answer, but if so, make sure you follow up with an answer to that questioner at a later date. And when people ask you questions rapid-fire, take it one answer at a time.
Hall offers up some ways in which you can improve the presentations themselves:
… join Toastmasters International where you will learn tips and techniques to improve your public speaking. You’ll have the opportunity to speak to a local group of individuals like you and receive candid and encouraging feedback.
Finally, allow me to recommend a book: Communicate to Influence by Ben Decker and Kelly Decker. I read this book a couple of years ago and gained valuable insights on how to ignite change and inspire action.
You can view the original post here: http://projectriskcoach.com/2017/10/23/difficult-presentation-questions/