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From the desk of Steve Lowell, Master Speaker and Mentor to those who speak in public.

Preparing For a Powerful Delivery

Answer the Tough Questions Before They’re Asked

Always plan for a question and answer session, even if you never do them. At some point, your host is likely to address the audience with, “Are there any questions for our speaker?”

You need to be prepared for this eventuality. Before you speak, think about your content and consider what questions might come from it. Develop your answers well in advance, so you’re armed with the information, should it be required. In addition, carry any supporting evidence you might need to substantiate your answer. It’s very impressive when an audience member asks a question, and the speaker is already prepared with an answer, complete with evidence.

On the other hand, you may hold a question and answer session, and have no questions asked. This can be highly uncomfortable for a speaker. So, what do you do?

Having a list of questions handy can get you out of this jam in a flash. If you open the floor to questions and there are none, this doesn’t necessarily mean that there aren’t any questions. It more likely means that no one’s brave enough to ask one. So, wait a few seconds, and, if it becomes apparent that there are no questions about to be asked, simply take control by saying, “One question that’s often asked is…” State a question and then answer it. This technique will not only take the pressure off you, by eliminating the awkward silence, but it may also prime your audience to open up and pose additional questions.

So, what’s the lesson? Always have answers for the tough questions in case you need them.

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