When you are presenting there is nothing more frustrating than the person that constantly interrupts you with questions. They can make you lose your edge, lose your thought process, and can often lead to complete disruption.
So how can you handle them without being seen as a tyrant?
- Keep your answers to their questions brief and then say, "If you would like more information I would be happy to explain in more detail later. That will allow me to respect every person's time in this room." As you say this look at the person, than look around the room so each person in the room knows you won't hold them up.
- If you get a lot of these "clarifying questions" when you present, then you are not being clear upfront. You are most likely trying to "share information" and justify why you did what you did. This confuses the audience and causes them to ask questions to make sure they understand what you said. You need to go back and tighten up your presentation.
- Start using numbers to clarify what you are saying. Your audience may be getting lost in your information so they are asking questions to figure out what you are saying. If you start saying, "so we have covered 2 of the 3 keys to making a successfully transition. Now I would like to share what the third key is and how you can..."
- Don't end eye contact with the person asking the questions. Make eye contact with the person asking the question, start to answer looking at them, and then look around the room as you answer the question. Right before you are done look at the person that asked the question and then finish what you are saying while looking at a person that you feel would give you warm reception or ask a pertinent question. If you end looking at the person asking the question, they will ask you another question.
- Don't ask, "Does that clarify it?" If you ask if the person understood what you said they would most likely ask another question.
- Make sure you understand what they are asking and why BEFORE you answer. Before you answer the question try to clarify what they are looking for. For example a person asks, "Why didn't you use Skinner's methodology in your program?" You would say, "You are wondering why I didn't use Skinner's methodology because you believe it would have produced better results or are you just wondering how I deciphered who I would use?" This clarifying will make sure you answer the real question and will often stop successive questions.
Most of all, remember that you can NEVER make your audience feel stupid or foolish. So it is best to not be sarcastic, try to ignore, or be flippant with a person. The audience will tend to side with the person they feel is most embarrassed.
As the leading Outcome Strategist, Anne Warfield shows people how to say the right thing at the right time every time. The revolutionary Outcome Focus® Approach shows how to build a candid corporate culture of communication that allows you to lead, present and negotiate transformationally rather than transactionally. When applying Outcome Thinking® our client’s results include sales cycles reducing by 75%, turnover reducing by 30%, silos evaporating, and a 25% savings of time by executives. Find out how you can maximize your corporate culture for greater productivity and results! Contact us at 888-imp-9421, visit www.impressionmanagement.com, or email