Pachter's Pointers:
Business Etiquette Tips & Career Suggestions


Giving a Presentation? 9 Ways to Answer Questions Like a Pro

I won’t give a presentation because I’m petrified about answering questions.

I don’t like giving presentations, but I really dislike the Q&A session.

I never know what to say when asked a question, and end up rambling. 

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld said, “Did you know that they say people fear public speaking more than they fear death? That means that more people would rather be inside the coffin than giving the eulogy!”

Many people fear giving presentations. Yet, as the above three quotes illustrate, there are people in my seminars who dislike the Q&A part of a presentation the most. They seem to dread losing control of the presentation, or being caught off guard.  

Effectively answering questions in front of your audience builds your credibility. Master the following points so you appear poised and confident during the Q&A:

1. Prepare for questions. As you prepare your presentation, you also need to prepare for the questions you may be asked.  Think about your topic and who is in your audience, and how they are likely to respond. Anticipate the questions and know how you will answer them.

2. Anticipate the tough questions. Think about what difficult, annoying or nasty questions you may be asked, and know how you will respond. Don’t just pray that someone won’t ask that question. Know how you will answer it.

3. Repeat the question before answering. This is hard to remember to do, but very important. You repeat the question for a number of reasons. The first is that when you repeat the question, it allows everyone to hear what was asked. You also gain a couple of seconds to get your thoughts together. And if the question is a hostile one, you can paraphrase the question and eliminate the hostility.  For example, if the question is, “How come you are spending so much money on transportation for...,” you could paraphrase and say something like, “The question concerns the transportation budget.”

4. Don’t be a puppet on your audience’s string. If the audience is shouting questions at you, make sure you repeat the question you are about to answer. If you don’t, you are being controlled by the audience as you quickly answer one question after another. When you take the time to repeat the question, you gain control of the Q&A, as you are deciding which questions to address and in what order. 

5. Look at the audience when answering the question. When you repeat the question, look at the person who asked it. But when you answer the question, look at the audience, to include them in the answer. 
6. Don’t know the answer? Admit it.
Even when you are well-prepared, there still may be times you are asked a question to which you don’t know the answer. When that happens, you can usually say, “I don’t know, but I will find out and get back to you.” And make sure you do. 

7. Give your Best Educated Guess. Occasionally, there may be times when you don’t know the answer, but you have to respond. You can then give what I call your Best Educated Guess. This is not lying. It’s a general response without being specific. It is saying something like, “Based on my experience (or research, or knowledge of...), I assume the following would occur....”  (But make sure it is your best educated guess – don’t go beyond the boundaries of what is plausible.)

8. Defer answering, if the answer to the question will be explained later in your talk. Often, you can say, “I am going to hold off answering that question as I will be discussing that topic in a few minutes.” Of course, if the CEO asked the question, you may want to answer it right away!

9. Don’t end abruptly. When the Q&A segment is nearing its end, prepare the audience. You can say something like, “I have time for one more question.” And after you answer that question, move on to your closing.

Additional information on presentations can be found in my book The Essentials of Business Etiquette: How to Greet, Eat and Tweet Your Way to Success

Pachter & Associates provides seminars and coaching on business presentations, writing, professional presence, etiquette and communication. For additional information, please contact Joyce Hoff at or 856.751.6141.


  1. I am grateful since I get an opportunity to read this article. I had been looking for this type of article so far. Thanks for sharing this post here!

  2. I am so glad to be given a chance to read your wonderful article. I am looking forward to read more of your works and posts. You did a good job..

  3. We try to provide the perfect service and experience you could possibly have. We ensure that once the clients place the order, they feel confident that the paper work will be done according to their needs and requirements! Our professional writers can cope with any task!

  4. Hello,

    I just wanna ask you one question and that is how to copy a wordpress site with perfect timeline??


  5. As a graduate student, i need to present a seminar and project in my college. I am little tensed and i don't know how can i present it. I am fear about the situation. I ordered a presentation tutorial from Book Review Writing Services and I am getting ready to present my seminar. Pray for me.

  6. Great information! Will you be expanding on this to include virtual meetings where you can't actually look at the audience?

  7. The thesis writing services are better opportunities to write perfect thesis and it must be error less.

  8. Hello! As you prepare your presentation, you also need to prepare for the questions you may be asked. And for the better result at college contact to custom term papers.

  9. gmail sign in

    Using Google’s Gmail as your email service makes accessing messages convenient from any computer by visiting Google and logging in to your Gmail account. Instead of opening the browser, navigating to the Google website and clicking “Gmail,” createa shortcut to Gmail on your computer’s desktop for quicker access.
    what's gmail

    gmail tips

  10. Anonymous4/29/2016

    Really i appreciate the effort you made to share the knowledge. This is really a great stuff for sharing. Keep it up . Thanks for sharing.
    University Essay Writing Service

  11. ITT MBA Capstone Project Help
    It is a smart presentation with a unique way of writing and written in well mannered techniques.

  12. This posy very efficiently describe the method how to achieve their aim. I have a site statement of purpose for ms in mechanical engineering for students to remove their all confusion and provide method to read widely

  13. Well, one thing I am really afraid of is the different questions you may be asked after the presentation. Someone can be not that attentive and ask what the speaker has already told about. I do not like it. And I also prefer ordering my college essay than doing it on my own.

  14. It is a smart presentation with a unique way of writing and written in well mannered techniques.tx

  15. Your presentation and ideas for graduate student much impressive thanks for share it capstone research project ideas .

  16. Hi,
    This is Murali Cherat, Having 30 years of joint experience as Independent director, Interim CEO, Turnaround specialist, Subject matter expert and Business consultant.
    If you would like to know more visit

  17. This is the game so players feel very fierce , adventurous . You try to join and play this game , you will feel great like.
    | tank trouble | learn to fly
    gun mayhem | can your pet
    | happ wheels

  18. Since the admin of this web site is working, no hesitation very quickly it will be famous, due to its feature contents.

  19. Today, I went to the beach with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it
    to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed the shell
    to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab
    inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back!
    LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had to tell someone!

  20. Do you long for another home, however don't exactly have the money for an initial installment? Is it true that you will trade sweat for value? At that point the administration needs you to purchase a fixer-upper home. cash advance

  21. Bank repossessed houses are properties that banks possess by righteousness of dispossession. Banks have more repo homes than they recognize what to do with, thus they are frequently more adaptable in their offering terms. This is a decent sign for any home purchasers particularly the individuals who plan to buy various them.

  22. It is so on account of the previous four year unsafe bank advances that causes the framework the state it is in right at this point. Today a large number of them are transforming into bad dreams for the banks and a significant number of the vehicles that happen to be repossessed. payday loans chicago

  23. We will be inclined to location unit the agency providing you the most effective services regarding inside a short amount.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.