Oral communication: handling questions

After your presentation, the audience may have questions. When handling questions remember to:

  • Appear interested.
    Give your questioner your full attention and put them at ease if they appear nervous.
  • Summarise the question.
    Rephrasing the question not only gives you time to think, and confirms with the questioner that you have understood, but also ensures that the rest of the audience have heard it.
  • Answer the question that was asked.
    The temptation, if you don’t know the answer, is to talk about something else. Try and stick to the topic and if you don’t know, offer to take the questioner’s details so you can find the answer for them, and respond later.
  • Don’t talk too long.
    The time for questions is always limited and there may be other questioners waiting for their turn. Try and keep your answers succinct and to the point.

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