How to Handle Questions Confidently

How do you top off a successful presentation? You need to ensure your audience goes away not only feeling informed but impressed and won over. The end of your presentation gives audience members a window to engage with you and ask questions. For you, this is an opportunity to restate key messages, provide greater detail where necessary and most importantly make lasting impressions.

However, as we give THEM control, questions at the end are also where the wheels can fall off your presentation! Handling questions and objections well is an essential skill for those making winning proposals, pitching their service or responding effectively to interrogative questioning in a range of business activities.

Presentation skills masterclass

Once you reach the Q&A section of your presentation, there are some straightforward steps to maintain composure and handle questions efficiently and masterfully:

Thank them

When a question lands, the first thing to do is thank the audience member asking because thanking generates positive emotions which help you to build rapport. If you are threatened by tough questions or objections, thanking can placate the questioner and keep other audience members on your side. Empirical science agrees: gratitude is a basis of power.


Next, ensure that you fully understand what the audience member has asked. In order to do this, you need to clarify the question. The most effective way of clarifying in a Q&A session is to paraphrase what you were asked because the audience member will have confidence in you and you can answer the question correctly. Besides that, you have more time to consider your response.


In a small room with 10 or so members this step may not be necessary, but in a conference space with an audience of 200, most people will not have heard the question. Clearly re-state it so the whole audience understands the context for the answer you will provide.


Now it’s time to answer the question. Answer as clearly and concisely as possible. If it requires too much time, or you would need to provide data that you don’t have to hand, informing the questioner that you will get back to them later will help you stay on track. However, its essential to confirm the questioner is happy with this.

A problem that some of the most experienced presenters have is focusing only on the questioner when giving an answer because the rest of your audience will lose interest. Therefore, make eye contact with all audience members to keep them engaged and involved.


Before moving on to the next question, ensure the answer you have provided satisfies the questioner by confirming with them. Moving on too quickly could give the impression you are concealing something and frustrate audience members who want to follow up.


When you get to the Q&A session in your business presentation, these five steps – Thank, Clarify, Amplify, Answer and Confirm – can help you to stay composed, keep momentum going and perform masterfully.

Presentation Skills is part of our Business Skills Excellence Programme – along with many other core business skills like our minutes writing course and time management course. Take a look at our course finder to see the whole range!

The Secret to Managing People

When it comes to bringing a team together and giving them the same ambition, goal setting can be a powerful tool to sketch out time frames, responsibilities, the how and why, as well as the mechanism to measure success. Yet it is more than just scrawling out notes with headings and getting it agreed and signed off, it is using the correct dialogue that actively engages the other person.

This means that we must understand behaviour types to be at our most effective in managing others. Let’s look at the basic four types and the Secret to Managing People to get a better view of this concept.

The Secret to Managing People
The Action person

Focus on the results first, state your conclusion at the outset. These types require practicality and short briefs as they are action based and need to get things done now.

They don’t like to overly think things through just state your recommendations and the results you seek and let them work out the rest. Sometimes associated with the colour red and the term Driver, most CEO’s and leaders would fall into this category. Words they like – results, objectives, performance, productivity, efficiency.

The Process Person

They will be careful not to rush until all options have been considered, they love data and facts. These are the Logical people who like process and pro’s and con’s. They will be carefully organised and although extremely conscious of time frames, they will not like to be rushed.

They have a need for attention to detail and getting it right the first time. Often called the Blues or the Analysts, they love clear outlines and clear answers. Words they like – facts, procedures, organising, analysis, proof.

The People Person

Very much driven by the success of the team and the relationship process. You will have to allow for small talk to generate into the discussion and an informal environment. They will need to see how the idea may have worked in the past and the association between the process and the people concerned. Once they have the overall view of the team in action they will be a strong player in making things work.

Typically they are called the Greens’ or the Team Players, for very good reason. The words they like – needs, motivation, feelings, awareness, beliefs, values.

The Idea Person

Charismatic and chatty, they just love to be creative and extend process into broader concepts. Allow enough time as they may go off on tangents and let them express themselves. Try to relate topic to the bigger picture and emphasise the impact of the idea to the future. Stress their uniqueness to the team effort.

They are typically called Yellows or the Charismatic Motivator and anyone who has tried to talk facts and deadlines to them is just wasting their time. The words they like – concepts, innovation, creativity, opportunities, issues, potential, improving.

Now with these four types described it is a must that you identify there could be an overlap of at least two colours. With a strong yellow there would be a hint of red, with strong blue there would be a hint of green so listening to their views and opinions, the words they prefer is absolutely crucial in better understanding how to best approach and engage them.

In Summary

Understanding different personalities and behaviour styles, and of course adapting your style accordingly, truly can be the key to taking your management skills to the next level. If you are interested in developing these skills for the workplace, check out our Emotional Intelligence courses UK to learn more.