Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 1

7 skills every professional must have

After making a great presentation, you often fumble over the questions posed by the listeners. Charanpreet Singh, Associate
Dean, Prais !usiness School, "olkata tells you ho# to tackle the audience #ith finesse.
A lot has been written about why presentation skills are essential for work success and what comprises a good presentation.
However, the skill of addressing and answering questions asked by the audience during and post the presentation is as important.
The audience has come to listen to, learn from and/or assess your presentation.
These objectives are served better if you encourage the audience to ask questions and subsequently address these questions effectively.
eedless to say, both presentation and !"A skills are a must for any professional, today.
#e e$amine some ways in which one can become better equipped to handle audience questions.
$. "no# your audience
#ho are they% #hat do they aim to take away from the discussion% #hat do & want them to think/do after the presentation%
An analysis of the audience will help you anticipate the kind of questions you may be asked and the level at which you need to pitch the
answers. &f you are a student making a presentation in class, your premier audience is the professor, whose objective in listening to you is
to assess your performance. &n a seminar or conference, you could be the subject e$pert in which case the audience wishes to learn from
your delivery.
%. Anticipate questions
A large part of the preparation gets accomplished while researching the content. 'ut it is prudent to go one step further (( anticipate
questions that may arise in the minds of the audience and ensure that you have the requisite knowledge to formulate answers to them.
&f your work is up for assessment )as it would be in an academic situation*, it+s mandatory that you spend adequate time on the
subject/project to attain a high level of familiarity with the concepts and their applications.
&. Practise active listening
,ood listening involves allowing the participant to complete the entire question, rephrasing the question in one+s own words to ensure
that there is a shared understanding of the query and listening to not only the words but also the tone and the body language that
accompany the words. -isten well to try and understand the question. .ften the presenter makes quick and often wrong assumptions
about the question, starts answering before the question is completed and ends up saying something that does not address the query at
all.Another issues is that the inquirer may not always be able to frame the question well (( engage with him or her and draw out a coherent
query that can then be addressed.
'. Analyse and articulate
/on+t be in a hurry to answer (( smart presenters take their time. 0tructure your response, articulate clearly, and in a language that helps
the questioner understand you easily. 1omple$, verbose answers betray a lack of clarity. 2resent the content )in this case the answer to
the query* in as simple a manner as possible. 1iting e$amples from real life situations or drawing analogies from well(known phenomena
are good ways of e$plaining a concept. There are often multiple questions hidden in one query (( recognise this, break it up into
constituent questions and answer one at a time.
(. Check for acceptance
The best way to do this is to simply ask, +/oes this answer your question+% There are several reasons for this (( one, the questioner may
not have been able to articulate the question well3 two, you may have misinterpreted the question3 three, your answer may make sense to
you, but not to the questioner as s/he does not have the same level of understanding of the subject matter.
&f it wasn+t, you may need to revisit the question, or rephrase your answer appropriately.
). Don*t be afraid to say *+ don*t kno#*
There could be aspects that you are not familiar with. &n this scenario, the best policy is to admit this to the questioner. However, follow
that up with an assurance that you would check with your resources and get back to him/her in due course with a useful response.
2resenters often attempt to bluff their way out of the situation by concocting unlikely answers and end up making a spectacle of
themselves. Also, you run the risk of misleading a large section of the audience with incorrect inputs and wasting everyone+s time as well.
7. !e a team player, but don*t substitute for others
2resenting in a group is the norm in academic institutions.
&n such a situation, in addition to being assessed for individual performance, you are also judged on your team skills, especially during the
!"A session. The rules are simple4 answer the question only if it is addressed to you (( do not step in to answer your team(member+s
question, even if you think you know the subject better. /on+t let your body language betray your disappointment or frustration with the
quality of answer provided by your team member (( it shows a lack of team spirit. ever interrupt a colleague when he/she+s speaking ((
you may seek the permission of the professor and add to what your colleague has said, provided you think that it would enhance your
performance as a team. Accept responsibility for any errors that the team may have made (( even if you were personally not involved in
that part of the presentation.