You can manage a fear of public speaking by thoroughly rehearsing your presentation. But what about the part of the talk that is less in your control: the question-and-answer period?
Don’t worry, there are several things you can do to prepare.
Some competenties you can learn:
- Empathy: Think about the types of things that audience members might ask. Put yourself in their shoes: How will your message impact their job?
- Connection: Practice responding with appreciation, such as “Thank you for raising that.” If you’re asked a contentious question, start your answer by focusing on where you and the audience member agree. This makes the person feel seen and connected to you.
- Curiosity: If you’re asked a question out of left field, respond with curiosity. Ask follow-up questions that help you understand what they’re getting at and where they’re coming from. If you’re still scratching your head, you can go back to expressing appreciation. A response like “I’m not sure about that, but thank you. I’ll look into it and get back to you,” will always work.
Of course developing your competenties is important to be able to execute … nevertheless there is something with a higher impact, …
CHANGE YOUR MINDSET and develop an appreciation for the conversation
Effective mindset: “Follow-up questions mean that people want to engage with what you have to say“
Your mindset will allow you to see things differently, as a result you will act differently … the effect and results will automatically follow.
Unfortunately, this self-fulfilling prophecy also works with a mindset of “Dread for Q&A”. Therefore … investing in a supporting mindset will certainly be worthwhile
This tip is adapted from “How to Nail the Q&A After Your Presentation,” by Caroline Webb