3 Ways To Answer Questions At The End Of A Presentation - Tips and Tricks

speaking practice May 18, 2021

In this article, I share 3 tips on how to effectively answer questions in English at the end of a presentation.


Listen to The Entire Question

One of the biggest traps non-native English speakers fall into when listening to other people, is that they fixate on the words that they don't understand while ignoring the rest of the sentence in the process. If you are always concentrating on the words you don't understand, then you're not going to understand the whole question! 

So my first tip is whenever you hear a word in a question that you don't know, simply ignore it and actually listen to the full question. Doing so will enable you to focus more on the question which will ultimately make it easier for you to answer.  


Ask Open-ended Questions as Opposed to Closed-ended Ones

Open-ended questions are questions that require more than a simple "yes or no" answer. Asking the audience open-ended questions when clarifying or paraphrasing a point they have made is a great way to gain a more thorough understanding of the question. 

Asking open-ended questions also buys you more time to think more carefully about what the audience member has asked and to prepare a good answer. 

Finally, remember that we should avoid close-ended questions (questions that require only a yes or no answer). They come across as rather direct and don't give us enough information for us to provide an informative response. 


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Be Honest if You Don't Know the Answer to a Question!

One of the worst things you can do at the end of a presentation is pretending you know something you really don't. We've all been there. Someone asks us a question and we think we should know the answer, and if we don't, then we're a failure and we shouldn't be stood up on the stage. 

Newsflash. You are no super genius! 

The audience doesn't expect you to answer any questions that you aren't sure of yourself. A better and more professional approach is to simply admit when you don't know the answer to their question and try to point them in the right direction if possible. 

You don't necessarily have to reject the question entirely. If there's someone else in the room or building that could answer their question adequately, then tell them so by saying something like - "I don't think that I'm the best person to answer that question as I don't know a whole lot about that topic, but my colleague Emma over there will be able to give you a better explanation. I'm sure she wouldn't mind if you asked her a little bit later on."

This final tip is so important because honesty and transparency always win no matter what the situation. So remember, if you really don't know the answer, just say so and redirect them to someone who may be able to help them more.

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