Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Do you worry about losing control when the question and answer session comes up?

Are you worried that you won’t be able to understand the questions from the audience?

For non-native English speakers, the question and answer period of your presentation can be the most difficult part.

Today we discuss five tips to help you take control – and stay in control – while taking questions during a presentation.

Four tips for control:

  • Tell people when they can ask questions (at the end of the presentation, anytime)
  • Tell them how they can ask questions (maybe you want them to submit written questions, or to send email or Twitter questions to you)
  • Anticipate what might happen and be proactive (think about what you can control).
  • If you’re having difficulty hearing a question, ask the person to “Speak up” or “Speak a little louder.”

What if you hear the question but don’t understand it?  Try these:

  • “I’m not sure I understand.”
  • “Could you repeat/rephrase that?”
  • “Could you clarify?”
  • “Could you be more specific?”
  • “Could you give an example?”

If you try and still can’t understand, move on!

Tell the person “Please contact me later.”

Remember, you’re in control, and other people in your audience might also have questions.


Have you ever given a presentation in English and taken questions from the audience?

How did it go?

Tell us below in the comments section!

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