The Q & A portion of your presentation may be the most nerve-wracking. But oftentimes it’s the biggest opportunity to connect with your audience and show them how much you care about their concerns.
Inevitably, you will be asked a predictable question where in the first four words, you can already predict what the question will be and you know how you want to respond. Speakers have a tendency to jump the gun and answer questions before the audience member is finished asking, cutting them off in the process.
First, there is the slight possibility that you may be incorrect in your prediction of their question, which will leave you looking over-eager and possibly arrogant (not good). Not to mention that it will put you in a tough spot to continue with their question. Secondly, and more importantly, even if you are right, you’ve shown that you are impatient and assuming (not good).
So, what should you do instead?
Listen to the question fully while slightly smiling and nodding. This agreement will show that you are receptive to, and interested in understanding them (very good). Then deliver your response. Most presenters have indicated that they jump in on questions to save time. However, it’s far more likely that adrenaline and increased nerves play a role in a speaker’s inclination to respond quickly.