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Painless Presentations: The Proven, Stress-Free Way to Successful Public Speaking by Lenny Laskowski

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Chapter 7

How to Handle Questions

QUESTION-AND-ANSWER PERIOD

When developing your presentation, it is critical to prepare for the possible questions your audience may ask you during and after the presentation. This includes not only expected and regular questions but also questions that may be difficult to answer.

In the next few pages, I will provide you with a structure and format for both types of questions: regular, or straightforward, questions, and difficult, or hostile, questions.

THE FIVE-STEP PROCESS FOR ANSWERING REGULAR (NONDIFFICULT) QUESTIONS

Many presenters like to avoid the question-and-answer period following a presentation. For some presenters, this is the most dreaded part of the presentation. For others, this can be the most exciting part of the presentation. If you did a good job with your presentation, you will see your audience eagerly wanting to ask questions.

When dealing with questions, I like to use this five-step process:

Step 1: Listen to the entire question. When someone asks you a question, listen to the entire question carefully. If you could not hear the question, ask the person to repeat it. While you listen, listen to the tone of the person’s voice. Is it calm, is it reasonably normal, or is it angry or upset? Do not only listen to the words, but also watch the person’s demeanor while he or she asks the question. Notice the person’s body language.
Step 2: Repeat the entire question. Regardless of how large or small the audience is, repeat the ...

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