How to Plan, Prepare, and Rehearse Questions in Innovative Presentations

By Ray Anthony, Barbara Boyd

Before your innovative presentation, nothing helps more than preparing to answer any and all types of questions. Forewarned is forearmed. When you carefully think through what people might ask, not only will you be able to better answer questions, but you’ll do so with a sense of relaxed and self-assured confidence. Here’s how to get set for any eventuality:

  • Develop as complete a list of questions, objections, or other forms of negative feedback or demands as you and your presentation group can think of.

  • Identify all the facts, statistics, models, diagrams, and other information that someone might challenge or strongly disagree with. Then craft several versions of answers from different perspectives.

  • Be a strategist. When encountering awkward or difficult questions from your group, think in terms of the best way to handle it, involving communication skills, persuasive arguments, and psychological factors. Consider which style is best to address a particular question in certain situations — for example, do you want your answer to be direct or subtle, soft or hard, stoic or passionate.

  • Plan for the worst. Think about how to handle a hostile person who seems to want to sabotage your presentation and intimidate you, perhaps with an unexpected, emotionally charged outburst.

    One of the best ways to diffuse a hostile manner is to remain calm and answer the question or objection — not the emotion. Regardless of what your audience asks, says, or does, keep your cool and don’t get flustered or defensive.

  • Spend adequate time rehearsing your answers to ensure clear, concise, and convincing responses. Videotape yourself, and if possible, get feedback from those whose opinion you respect.