Public speaking can be nerve-wracking, especially when it comes to handling questions and objections from your audience. However, it’s important to remember that questions and objections are a natural part of any presentation and handling them effectively can help you build trust and confidence with your audience. Here are some tips for handling questions and objections that may arise during your presentation.
The importance of being prepared in public speaking
One of the keys to handling questions and objections effectively is preparation. Before your presentation, take the time to anticipate potential questions and objections and think through how you will address them. This will help you feel confident and in control when these questions arise during the presentation. Ask yourself, if I was an audience member listening to this topic, what issues, concerns and questions might come up for me. And prepare answers for those questions.
The importance of active listening
When a member of your audience asks a question or raises an objection, it’s important to listen actively and understand the underlying concerns of the person asking the question. This will help you respond in a way that addresses their concerns and helps to build trust and rapport with your audience. Active listening means giving the speaker your full attention, maintaining eye contact, and asking clarifying questions to make sure you fully understand their point of view. Please don’t do the brush off or change the intent of the question to suit yourself. The audience will see this and you may lose their trust.
Responding to questions and objections
When responding to questions and objections during public speaking, it’s important to be clear, concise, and confident. I like the less is more principal when responding to questions. Be brief and to the point. Use examples, anecdotes, and data to support your argument and address any misconceptions or misunderstandings. Avoid getting defensive or confrontational, and try to maintain a positive, professional demeanor throughout the conversation.
If you don’t know the answer to a question, it’s okay to say so and “take it on notice” and get back to them. This shows that you’re honest and willing to do the necessary research to get them the information they need.
Handling difficult or hostile questions during public speaking
Handling difficult or hostile questions can be challenging, but it’s important to remain calm, respectful, and professional. Avoid getting defensive or confrontational, and instead, focus on understanding the concerns behind the question. Address any misconceptions or misunderstandings and use examples and data to support your argument. If the question is off topic or outside of the scope of your talk, say so. If the question is particularly targeted to only that individual’s concerns or circumstances, you can ask the person if you can follow up with them one on one, after the presentation. This shows that you’re willing to listen and work with them to find a solution.
They say that the question and answer session can make or break a great presentation. Handling questions and objections effectively during a presentation is an important aspect of effective public speaking. By being prepared, actively listening, responding clearly and confidently, and handling difficult situations professionally, you can help to build trust and rapport with your audience, and ensure that your message is received in the way you intended.
Interested in improving your public speaking skills? Join Peter at the Winning Presentation Skills on October 23rd in Perth. Limited seats available, so register now!