Have you presented at a seminar, conference, or your own event and have a recording of it? Congratulations, you have …
We provide a few tips that will help satisfy the audience’s curiosity so they can’t refuse your offer.
First, let’s understand why the “question and answer” mode is needed in an online presentation. To satisfy the curiosity of the inquirers? Well, as a secondary goal, it will do. But the primary purpose of questions and answers is that very engagement, which not only lazy people don’t talk about among coaches and advisors in the online marketing sphere. And since we are not lazy either, we’ll note that according to research, over 60% of viewers find presentations with two-way interaction more attractive and memorable than those in which the audience plays a passive role.
Furthermore, by answering a specific viewer’s question, you essentially create personalized content. As we know, personalization helps the viewer pay closer attention to the presentation materials.
From what has been said, an important conclusion can be drawn. Viewers value the fact of active participation in the presentation. The opportunity to ask questions and hear answers is almost as important as the actual content of the response. How you respond to a question should be placed above what you respond with. If you understand the subject of the presentation, there should be no problems. The key is not to become overly academic and to speak in a straightforward and concise manner. However, this falls under the category of “how,” so we’ll conclude the introduction and move on to our list of tips.
Prepare for questions and rehearse your response. This is the best way to put yourself in a state of confident calmness for conducting a presentation and answering questions. To make the rehearsal successful, you will undoubtedly need the help of your colleagues. It’s much more difficult to anticipate on your own what questions might be asked. Moreover, such rehearsals help identify and rectify the weak points in the presentation.
Answer questions throughout the entire online presentation. Since the time when most presentations were held in person, the tradition of dedicating the final part to questions has been preserved. This standard is ingrained in our minds by schools and universities. But upon reflection, such an approach is unsuitable for online presentations because it takes the audience out of active participation for the majority of the event. It is much more effective to allow questions and comments throughout the entire presentation. In the chat, at any time. Voice questions during the live broadcast after each “chapter” of the presentation. By allowing questions and responses during the event, you create a dialogue mode. This makes viewers feel like co-authors, beginning to perceive your product or service as something of their own. The only exception is short online presentations, where the main part’s duration is 1-3 minutes. In such cases, it’s clear that answering questions should be left until the end.
Be patient. Be prepared for the fact that you will be asked annoying questions. Tricky, incredulous, turning from questions into comments, critical, too long, or poorly formulated questions. This is inevitable since the majority of the audience has not been trained in oratory skills. In any case, react calmly and amiably. If something is unclear, clarify it. If it’s poorly formulated, try to reformulate it for the inquirer. Such a reaction will earn you additional points in the audience’s eyes. If you lose your temper, display irritation, anger, or offense, you will push away not only the inquirer but all other viewers as well. The maximum conditionally negative reaction you can afford is mild irony and a bit of humor. However, these tools should be used very cautiously to avoid giving the impression that you are mocking or ridiculing the inquirer.
Express gratitude. It’s a straightforward technique that helps endear you to your conversational partner and smooths out rough edges. A simple ‘Thank you for your question’ works almost flawlessly, becoming a reflex. Even if viewers intellectually understand that your gratitude is mere politeness, subconsciously, they’ll perceive it as a friendly gesture.
Agree. What communication format benefits a presenter-marketer more, a dialogue or a conflict? The answer is obvious. However, many questions contain a kernel of conflict. To ensure that the conversation stays on a constructive course, start your response not with objections but with agreement. For instance: ‘Thanks for the question. I agree that it’s a very interesting issue. Let’s try to address it,’ or ‘Thanks for the question. I can’t help but agree that this matter requires further clarification.’ Importantly, you don’t have to explicitly state your agreement. A phrase like ‘I’m glad you’ve brought up this point. It’s definitely worth discussing,’ is, in essence, agreement without the formal declaration.
Don’t hesitate to admit that you don’t know something. Oops, an attentive viewer has asked you a question for which you don’t have an answer on the spot. This happens much more often than you might think. So, it’s crucial to be prepared for such a situation. Calmly and confidently respond with something like, “Thank you for your complex and interesting question. Unfortunately, at the moment, I cannot provide a comprehensive and precise answer. After the presentation, I will consult with our team and get back to you with a response.” You can also mention that you’re willing to send the answer to all other viewers.
Don’t relinquish control. When communicating with viewers, especially in an active dialogue mode, it’s quite easy to lose control, especially if you encounter a charismatic and self-assured character among the audience. In this case, you should have standard solutions ready to help you maintain control of the situation. For example: “It seems we’re focusing a bit too much on this point. Let’s discuss it further after the event, and for now, let’s continue the presentation.” This way, you’ll simultaneously assert who’s in charge and demonstrate that you’re not avoiding discussing a specific topic.
Build bridges for further communication. We’ve already mentioned twice that a question-and-answer style of dialogue can continue after the presentation. Now, let’s add that it not only can but should continue. And the more viewers you can engage, the better. This approach allows you to “grow leads,” turning them into customers (often, recurring ones) over time after the presentation. According to statistics, converting approximately 60% of viewers into buyers takes at least 3 months, and 20% take over a year. Around 80% of buyers became such after 5 interactions with sellers. Therefore, when answering questions, try to make maximum use of a simple move, such as: “Of course, this is a brief answer, in very general terms. To provide a more comprehensive and accurate answer to your question, let’s get in touch at a time that suits you after the presentation.” Naturally, to achieve this, you need to have the most convenient means of contact. For example, one like that built into ROI4Presenter.
Celebrate the questions. We saved this tip for last to draw special attention to it. Many presenters, especially those who feel unsure during public speaking or like to keep a tight schedule, perceive questions from viewers and the necessity to answer them negatively. Whether consciously or not, they try to avoid them. Let’s be clear: with such an attitude, you won’t make money. Accept it as a given – questions are good. The more, the better. If there are questions, it means you’ve struck a chord in the hearts and minds of the viewers. The absence of questions is a sure sign that the online presentation has failed and needs to be redone. So, don’t tire of reminding everyone that you’re ready to answer any emerging questions, even going as far as addressing specific viewers with your question: “Do you have any questions about this section/topic of the presentation?”
You should be happy about every question as a positive occurrence and strive to structure your online event to stimulate the viewers, consciously encouraging them to engage in the presentation process.
Good luck to all, successful presentations, and high earnings!
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