With the speech completed, it is time to take questions. This should be a five-step process:
- Listen to the entire question.
- Repeat the entire question.
- Pause. Many presenters tend to answer easy questions too quickly, revealing their struggle with difficult questions when they are forced to search for an answer.
- Answer the question. If the speaker does not know the answer, he or she should say so openly.
- Bridge to the next question. The speaker bridges by asking the questioner if he or she is satisfied.
If there are no questions, the speaker can get things rolling by saying, “Many people have asked me… .” If a question is clearly hostile, the presenter can rephrase it in more neutral language. Stalling, useful in any case to give time to craft an answer, is especially useful when trying to disarm a verbal attack.