Managing questions-and-answers is the real test of your knowledge, credibility and confidence. Yet most individuals get too comfortable during Q&A, thinking the most difficult part of their conversation – presentation, sales pitch or high-stakes meeting – is over.
When your questioner senses your discomfort and uncertainty in your answers, their daggers come out. These are the moments you open up the door for the challenger to attack, for the objections to be thrown and for making yourself a human target.
Avoid these 5 Q&A bombs:
- Distracting Body Language. Your body language strongly communicates how you are feeling and what you may be thinking. If you fidget with your fingers, take steps backwards or begin looking away from your questioner, you communicate that you’re nervous, unsure and lack confidence. These ineffective behaviors invite your listeners to throw more challenging questions your way, turning Q&A into a hot mess.
- Long-Winded Responses. Get to the point and keep your answers brief. Your questioner is not asking for your lifetime of experiences. The more you speak, the more you confuse. Confusing and frustrating your listeners invites them to either challenge you or shut down and disengage.
- ‘Good Question’ Diatribe. Avoid using filler to buy yourself time while you think of an answer. Honor your questioner’s question by giving yourself permission to communicate the most effective answer. Replacing fillers during Q&A allows you to listen and identify what the questioner is really asking.
- Interruptions. Avoid answering the question before the questioner is finished.
- Well, Actually, Basically. When you begin your answers with these words, you jeopardize the credibility of your answer before you share it. Think before you answer!
This Week, Take Action
- Ask someone you can trust to tell you when you fall into one of these traps. This is a critical step to improving your ability to manage Q&A.
- Immediately after a Q&A conversation, share the questions with someone who has more experience and knowledge on the topic. Share with them the questions you received and how you answered them. Ask them how they would have answered differently.
- Prepare before a conversation. Identify three challenging questions you would not want to get and how you would answer them.
Drop me a note to share how your management of Q&A has improved by avoiding these 5 bombs. Tag me on myFacebook page