Here are three tips to managing questions well.
Educate your audience.
Let your audience, virtual or real, know how you would like questions; interspersed through the talk, seminar or pitch. Or, save them to the end of the session for a specific Q&A. But, be prepared that they don’t listen to that too!
Prepare for questions.
Expect questions and prepare for them. If this is a talk you repeat and similar questions keep coming up – you may need to adjust the content.
Think about how you would question the data, the approach, the cost, the time-frames or any relevant data point if you were sitting in the audience rather than being the presenter. If you are struggling find someone who you know has a different perspective from you and ask them for their questions. The more prepared you are the more credible you will sound during Q&A.
Acknowledge the Question.
When a question is asked it is important to acknowledge the fact it has been asked. Thank the questioner. Acknowledge the complexity of the issue (if it is indeed complex!). By doing so the questioner will feel heard and you will have time to formulate your response.
What to do if you don’t know the answer.
Be truthful. Commit to finding the answer and make sure you have a way to communicate the answer back to the individual or the group by a specific date. The make sure you do it!
We’ll speak soon.