+44(0)208 9952500 karen.stancombe@lionsdencommunications.com LionsDen Communications Lionsden medical John Clare

Confident Q&A Handling

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I'm John Clare and I've been coaching people all over the world to make scientific presentations from more than 20 years.

What if you’re confident that you’ve prepared a great presentation but are dreading the Q&A session? That can consolidate or destroy your performance, and may provide the most memorable part of the event for your audience. Can you prepare for that? You certainly can.

There are two elements to successfully handling the Q&A session:

  • Preparation
  • Delivery

Preparation

In our training sessions we introduce participants to an exercise which is simple but effective. It’s called

Red Light…Green Light

It works like this:

Work with a colleague, or a number of them. Set up two flipcharts, on the left and right side at the front of a meeting room.

On the flipchart on the right, use a green pen to make a bulleted list of the key points you want to make. Green in this case equals positive, good, or go.

Then on the flipchart on the left, use a red pen to list the questions you are expecting, and the issues you expect to come up.  Red equals negative, bad or stop. Ask your colleagues to be honest and creative about the topics.

Get the colleagues to ask you the questions from the flipchart. Your role is to answer them, and where possible to get to one of the green key points. However, you do not want to avoid the question and go straight to your points. We call this ‘The Politician’s Answer’ and it rarely works!

The order in which you fill in the charts is very important. You should start with the green points, because that means you are setting the agenda. If you start with the red questions, everything you write in green will be a response, so you are then on somebody else’s agenda.

Delivery

There are a number of techniques which will help you to put your preparation into practice. The key one to use is:

Bridging

This is where you take a word or concept from the question, and build a verbal bridge from that to the points you want to make. The important thing here is to ensure you acknowledge the question before you bridge to your own point. If you don’t do this, you do end up with The Politician’s Answer.  That’s why we call the technique ABC:

Acknowledge   –     Bridge  –   Communicate

You can invent your own bridging phrases, but here are some general ones:

Acknowledge Bridge Communicate
Yes that’s right… but equally important is… key point
That’s not quite right… let me explain… key point
I’m not aware of that… what I do know is… key point
That’s a fair point… but it doesn’t change the fact that… key point
Before we leave that… I’d just like to stress… key point

There is much more on this and similar topics in my book Communicating Clearly about Science and Medicine:

http://www.ashgate.com/isbn/9781409440383

Over the last 20 years I have helped to prepare thousands of scientists, physicians and pharmaceutical executives for major presentations, media interviews and regulatory hearings.

Find out more here: http://www.lionsdencommunications.com

If you have a particular question or a topic you would like me to address, please email me: John.clare@lionsdencommunications.com

If you have colleagues who would benefit from these tips, please send them the link to my free e-book, The 7 Deadly Sins of Scientific Presentations (and how to avoid them).



http://www.lionsdencommunications.com/download-free-book

Thanks for dropping in.

If you have colleagues who would benefit from these tips, please send them the link to my free e-book, The 7 Deadly Sins of Scientific Presentations (and how to avoid them).



http://www.lionsdencommunications.com/download-free-book