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Presentation Skills

Handling questions

Challenge: What if I get questions I cannot answer?


The question and answer period after your presentation might be challenging because you will be in less control of the situation. Think of yourself as the leader of the discussion, not just someone who is responding to questions. 

Use the following tips as a guide: 

  • Let the audience know when to ask questions (during your talk? at the end?). 

  • Open the Q&A using an open question format (Who has the first question? or What topic should we begin discussing?) rather than a “yes/no” question (Are there any questions?) Offer a discussion point if the audience is slow to participate. 

  • Listen carefully to the entire question. 

  • Repeat the question aloud to clarify the question and enable the audience to hear it. 

  • Stop and think about your response. 

  • Answer briefly and coherently. 

  • It’s much better to say “I don’t know” than to make up an inaccurate or misleading answer. 

  • Respond to difficult people calmly and politely; help them feel heard by briefly acknowledging their concern / point / question, and then offer to follow up with them after the question period is over. 

  • Thank your audience for their participation.