Speakers are very afraid of the questions of the audience. That's for nothing. If you know how to work with them, they can turn from enemies into cool assistants.
Questions may be constructive and mocking.
The first ones are easier to work with: they are asked by the people, who want sincerely to examine the theme and clarify incomprehensible details.
Use them to continue the dialogue and satisfy the requests – try to build your answer so that it would become the continuation of the performance. In this situation you communicate not with the person, but with the whole audience – just so, as in the main speech.
If you have not precise data at the moment, that's not important. Say frankly about it and offer your versions: you may answer the question later in personal communication or share useful links with all the participants. The main thing is not to think up or manipulate the data – you risk getting in a foolish position and harm your expertise in future.
Curator of educational projects and product manager of BEsmart
Mocking questions are more complicated to handle: they are put by the people who want to be in the center of attention. They are not interested in the answer, the target of the troll is to place the speaker in an awkward position and cause his emotions.
E.g., you are speaking about your favorite director. You say that he shoots deep and cultured films. Suddenly a driving question sounds in the hall: "How is it? If I don't like these films, I'm not a cultured man, am I? Stupid and uneducated?".
There are 3 Simple Rules:
Don't give the troll any time for discussion
Don't make him the center of attention. Remember: your audience is still in the hall or in ZOOM, you are speaking for them.
Don't ignore and leak questions
Explain, why you think them unconstructive or not on the theme. Don't give in to the provocation, turn the conversation in the rational way.
If you feel weak points in your speech, think about them beforehand
This will help to correct doubtful moments at the preparation stage or to think better of the answer.
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