This post is also available in: Spanish
During or after your presentation you receive a question from one of the attendees. You listen to the question and my tip is that you repeat the question in your own words to check back if you have understood the questioner (and, in case the attendee doesn’t have a mircrophone, to share the question with the rest of the audience). Then you start answering. If you act as most of the presenters, you focus completely on the questioner and you make eye contact only with him / her and you forget about the rest of the audience. This is something which happens a lot, but it’s a pity, because you completely lose the connection with those people. So, what to do?
My advise is to start looking at the questioner while repeating the questions and starting answering, but then you start looking at the rest of the audience as if it were a normal part of your presentation. Make contact with all of them. Was it a very specific question? Maybe you can make a link with what you know about the rest of the audience (for example: “Yes, that’s an important question, because..” or “What you say there is very important for all of us, because…”). At the end of the answer, go back to the questioner and check if he / she is happy with your answer.
This way you have both satisfied the questioner and the rest of the audience. If you want to know more about eye contact during presentations, see my former post.
Image (cc) by Valerie Everett