Answering Questions

Watch and Learn

Fielding questions is one of the most daunting parts of any presentation; after all you never quite know what's going to come up. Yet even once you get past that there's a great skill in being able to answer a question concisely and effectively. How often have you heard a politician skirt around an answer, twisting his words until you've forgotten what the question even was in the first place? This video gives you a simple easy to follow framework that will help you understand how you can better answer questions and leave your audience satisfied with your responses.

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The craft of answering questions

Top Tips for Answering Questions

  1. Listen
    It is important to listen to all parts of a question before answering. This way you can prepare the best response. 

  2. Understand
    If you are worried that you haven't understood a question, clarify before responding. Repeat the question back to confirm you have heard what has been asked of you. 

  3. Communicate and Involve
    Be sure the whole audience has heard the question and understood what was asked. You can do so by outlining what you have been asked prior to giving your answer.

  4. Respond
    When answering your question be sure to direct the answer to the questioner and the rest of the audience. Keep your answer short and to the point.

  5. Bridge to the Next Question
    Ask “Does that answer your question?” Once the question asker responds “Yes,” you have your permission to move on to the next person or question.

Answering Questions

Enhance your Learning

The videos in this playlist demonstrate methods you can use to answer questions effectively.

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Answer Questions After Presentations

Enhance your Wellness

It’s common to feel nervous and anxious when you’re put on the spot. Practice these tips to help yourself stay grounded and present:

  • Feel your feet on the floor. Imagine growing roots like a tree.
  • Intentionally slow down your breathing.
  • Touch a table or chair nearby and notice how solid it is.
  • Say kind and simple words to yourself like “Relax” and “I’m doing just fine”.

Short mindfulness experiences before a stressful situation can help you become present and reduce anxiety: UCLA Guided Meditations

See also: VIU Counselling's Health and  Wellness Resources

Student Support Areas

Counselling Centre

Communicate and Connect

Communicate and Connect with Others

Ideas for connecting with your classmates, talking to instructors and speaking in public

Value for Me?

The aim of this guide is to give you some practical strategies for handling and responding to questions during or at the end of an oral presentation.

Visualize Topic

The Socratic Method

Types of Questions

Technology Integration

Mind-Mapping/Concept Mapping Software

Try using these tools to create possible questions: