Do you know what my clients and most afraid of when presenting? That's right. Being asked a question they don't know the answer to. We somehow believe we have to know every answer to every question that anyone might have related to our topic, even those that aren't. The pressure we put ourselves on there is intense. It's unrealistic, if not impossible to know everything. No wonder we get anxious. Again, it comes down to the fear of not being good enough or competent enough and being rejected. So let's address this fear once and for all. You do not need to know every answer to every question, you do however need to know how to find out the answer. Can you see yourself as a facilitator? A fact finder. You're not the encyclopedia, but you do know which encyclopedia to look in, how to skim the paragraphs and find the relevant information quickly. In Think and Grow Rich, the author speaks about Henry T, Ford. He was criticized as he wasn't schooled like everyone else, and yet there he was an influencer. So he didn't know the answers to facts about for example World War I, and how many people died in this battle, and who led that battle. He was questioned on a range of topics to test his knowledge before he said, ''Stop. I don't need to know all this information. I have a switchboard with all of the experts on every topic. I can call them at any moment and ask for the information straight away.'' That's your job, a facilitator of knowledge. But when you do know the answer or think you know the answer, here is some ways to respond in a succinct professional and convincing way. Before we do that, we need to address something that's very important. Why do people ask questions in the first place? If you think it's because they want to know the answer, you're right, sometimes. However, it's more often than not one of these other reasons. Recognition. They want to be heard, acknowledged, and seen as knowledgeable by their colleagues. Reinforcement. They want to repeat or reinforce something indirectly to someone else who's in the group. Test. They want to test to see if you can handle the pressure or if you can handle them under pressure, to see whether you got the goods to pressure test you. You get my point. Usually, this question is more of an attack. I remember, a client of mine telling me about a major pitch he and his team were involved in. The CEO of the company said to him, "Tell me why I should go with you instead of the other company when they are cheaper and they have better ideas." The team froze. My client calmly replied. ''Tell me why you are still sitting here.'' He was using a very advanced technique for dealing with someone in distress. Understand. There are some types of people who just need to ask questions to process the information. They're the what if people. They need to apply the information to a situation they may encounter in the future, then they can see how the information could be useful to them. There are other reasons, but those are the main ones. You will get questions, you should get questions. Again, it shows that your audience is engaged with you and your content. So how do you answer questions consistently well? Use the triple RRRC process. Repeat. Repeat the question for those who might not have heard it and to clarify what the question is. People love it when you repeat their words and phrases back to them, already they feel heard. Also if they don't have a microphone and it's a large group, it's always good to repeat what they've said so that everyone can be included. You also have an opportunity to make sure you've understood the question. You might say, to clarify your asking recognition, asking questions is a big deal, almost as big as answering them. People do feel anxious about sounding intelligent and knowledgeable, and want to be accepted by their peers. So always thank and praise the person, recognize them. This does several things. Firstly, it makes the person look good in front of their colleagues and peers as the leader you, is praising them. Secondly, you're also encouraging others to ask questions as they'll also be rewarded, and thirdly, you come across as unafraid and in-control, ready to take on any question that comes. Some phrases I use are; ''Great question. I'm glad you asked that. Thanks, that's a really good question. Excellent question. No one's ever asked that before.'' Respond. When you can respond to the question, this is the fun part. Welcome to the impromptu speaking techniques which will help you save face, organize your thoughts, and help me to sound professional regardless of what question you're asked. I recently went to a lunch, the budget had been released the day before, and an expert was there to give us a summary. After he spoke, the audience asked him questions. He was under a lot of pressure. As I said, the budget had only just been released. He not only had to know it in as much detail as possible, but he had to be able to easily relay answers to the persistent crowd. He used many of these techniques. When asked about his prediction for the future based on the current climate and the new budget, he started talking about the past, then he talked about the present, and what was happening right now, then he started talking about his prediction for the future, past, present prediction. When asked how it would work, he said, ''Step one, step two, step three.'' That's one of my favorites, it's really easy. When asked why it was a good idea. He said there were three reasons why, and he used the rule of three. Those are just three techniques. In the resources for this week, you'll see many more. I always use the rule of three. Even if I don't know what the three reasons are, I'll say, ''Thanks to that question, is a great question.'' There are three reasons why, I know the answers will come to me. One of my other favorites is PIS, Problem, Impact, Solution. You can't sell the solution unless you've solved the problem, and you can't solve a problem unless you sold the impact of the problem. The problem is that most people don't prepare for Q&A. The impact is that they get anxious, nervous, and fearful when asked the question. The solution is simply for them to spend time thinking about all the questions that people might ask them and prepping for them. Then they'll feel far more confident and never fear questions again. What if you can't answer the question? Have responses ready for this too. Delegate. ''Great question, what do you think?'' ''What does everyone else think?'' ''Would someone else like to have a go at answering this?'' This technique at least gives you time to think. Delay. If it's a tricky question that requires more thought or research, just delay it. Let them know when you'll get back to them. You might say, ''Thanks, that's a great question.'' To give you the right answer, I'll need to get back to you online. This tomorrow work or make me afterwards, we'll organize a way to get the information to you. That also puts the responsibility back on the questioner to find out the answer. Avoid. Now, I've coached many politicians, I met good ones and others for media appearances. A lot of training goes into how not to answer the question, but instead, pose another question and answer that. ''That's a good question,'' but the real question here is, ''Great question.'' Another question worth answering is, ''Good question.'' A more relevant question might be, say check-in. Finally, always check in once you've answered the question. Ask them, ''Has that answered your question?'' Or ''Is there something more you want to know?'' This means you close the loop for the person, but also it's incredibly professional. It says, ''I'm not afraid of your questions, keep them coming.'' A very simple way to answer a question is PAC. Praise, Answer, Check-in. Please do prepare for questions though. You don't want to spend all that time doing an awesome presentation only to lose it at Q&A. When we were prepping debates for the Commonwealth debating competition, we would think of every question we could be asked, then we practice arguing both sides. The result. I no longer had an opinion on anything, both sides always seemed valid.