Mindset is very important when presenting. You have to believe the audience is on your side. Before you present, you must tell yourself that any questions you get from the audience, are coming from a place of ‘wanting to understand’ the content you are presenting and ‘seeing it from their perspective’. If you are already dreading the thought of people asking you questions before you present, you naturally create an uncomfortable anxiousness in yourself, and the audience, people are very quick to pick up and respond to this anxiety. If you stay calm and approach questions in a positive way you keep your audience engaged and maintain your calm and confidence throughout.
When a question is asked, summarise it to yourself, in your mind, and then repeat it back in your own words. By acknowledging the question and paraphrasing it back you let the individual asking the question know that you ‘hear’ what they are saying. This gives you time to process the question and by doing this, you also check your understanding. You are then in a position to share your insights on the question, form an opinion and share your thoughts. For example, you may say ‘this is a very interesting stance’, then you have an opportunity to open the question up to the audience. You can then go onto say ‘Does anyone in the audience have some insight on this?’ You are then in a position to ‘pull’ the answers out of the audience and devise your own opinion that you can share with the group.