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January 29, 2018

Question and answer after presentation

question and answer after presentation

One of the worst pieces of advice I’ve heard is that you should do your question and answer after presentation.

Just the other day I saw a speaker bomb out in the Q&A session. He won’t be the first one I see, nor the last, I’m sure.

He did a competent presentation. Good slides. Good delivery. Solid content that was of interest to his audience.

Then he lost it.

Question and answer after presentation

He asked if anybody had “any questions?”

Of course, nobody raised their hands. He was kinda embarrassed and said, “I must have covered everything then.”

He then slunk out from behind the lectern as people rushed out of the room.

I really felt sorry for him.

He came in with a bang and left with a whimper.

So, how does one deal with question and answer after presentation?

It’s quite simple really.

  • Don’t ask if “anyone has any questions?”
  • Rather ask, “how/where/when would you apply what I taught you in a work situation?”
  • Prime the audience at the beginning and say that you will be asking questions to test for understanding

Here’s the golden rule: NEVER leave the question and answer after presentation for the end. Never, never, never …

Did I say “never?”

Why? If there are no questions, then the presentation ends on a low note.

The trick is to have the question and answer session near the end of the session with five minutes left over for you to close strong.

So, even if nobody asks a question, then at least you can rescue the situation and end on a high note. You control the ending, not your audience. Leaving it to your audience is leaving too much to chance.

You can end with a strong summary.

For example: Since there are no questions, I’ll just remind you of the key points of my presentation. Key point 1, key point 2, key point 3.

Your last sentence should then end with an action and benefit statement.

Let’s pretend that the speaker was talking about weight loss, this is how he/she could end:

“So, if you drink hot lemon tea first thing in the morning on an empty stomach (action), make sure you have at least 30% fat in your diet (action) and do 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise a day (action), then you will be guaranteed to lost 3 kilograms in 3 weeks (benefit).

I trust that this question and answer after presentation was useful to you. Please share it with anyone you know that does presentations with Q&A sessions.

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