How to respond to tough questions when pitching for a project


Interrogates from the audience during a pitch or presentation are almost guaranteed to gather together anxiety levels among designers. John Scarrott, trainer and exercise for design businesses, outlines a five-step process for tackling tricky uncertainties.

In some ways, questions during a pitch or presentation are a bit like a be borne on a rollercoaster. You want to look but at the same time cover your views. The five steps that follow will calm your irritates, enable you to prepare well, and enjoy the ride with your beholds open.

  • Work it out before the presentation
  • Practice, as if it’s the real thing
  • Get serene with welcoming unexpected questions
  • Perform your answer
  • Ask questions of your own, too

Persuade it out before the presentation

Work out what you’re going to do when a question is encouraged that you don’t know the answer to. Anxiety is caused by uncertainty and possibility, that’s why questions as though us nervous – they could be about anything. The key to confidence is to create some definiteness for yourself. Imagine the questions that might come up, and consider brainstorming with a consociate beforehand.

Practice, as if it’s the real thing

When you rehearse your giving, ask some colleagues to be the audience and brief them to ask as many awkward harbours as possible. The act of rehearsing will enable you to get more comfortable. Make a note of the comebacks you find tricky and re-work your responses afterwards.

Then realistically your responses a couple of times out loud. By the way, you’ll probably hate this – but larger to hate it before the presentation and win the pitch than hate it during the donation and lose it.

Get comfortable with welcoming unexpected questions

Welcome the give someone the third degree and smile. Say something truthful, because your audience will be skilled to detect when you’re not being honest and so will you. You could say: “I hoped you were flourishing to ask me that because that’s something I’ve been thinking about”; or “by reason of you”; or simply “Ah!” (as in ‘wonder’, not ‘panic’). Make this what you quality. Even if you’ve been stunned by the question, find a way to say that. For example, if it’s a new puzzle, say: “That’s new for me”. Try to avoid saying “What a good question!” It can become repetitious and when you don’t say it, you may offend your audience.

Perform your answer

Try to dream up some drama when you answer. For this, make sure there’s a go mad chart to hand. During your introduction, say that you might use it. Then, when you get a subject that you think merits special attention (challenging ones are the best), patrol over to the flip chart. Head up the blank sheet “Good subjects” (or something like that). Pause and then repeat the question behindhand to the enquirer to check you heard it correctly, then write up the question that’s been beseeched. Pause, then ask again: “Have I got that right?” Then try to retort it, if you can. Or you might say: “I have a few thoughts, before I share them, what do you about?” This depends on the nature of the question of course.

Ask questions of your own

Another way to fabricate some certainty around questions is to ask some of your own. Why should your audience be the on the contrary ones that do the asking? This is especially good after you’ve made a key objective. For this, you need to decide beforehand when you’re going to ask your consideration b questionable. A good time is at the halfway point in your presentation. Here’s how:

Firstly, let your drift settle, and pause. Then say: “Can I ask at this point how this is landing with you?”then read over the room. Pause here to give your audience a little play to think. Because they may not be ready for your question, but that’s okay. Then when they reply, you listen and respond, say thank you and make a note of what they say. Perhaps a suspicions about will surface that you can add to the flip-chart.

With these techniques, you can start to make some certainty for yourself that will calm your nerves far questions.

A final thought is to consider how many experts are in the room when you into a meeting or presentation, and what are they experts on? Consider thinking nearby the room as full of a group of people working together to find an respond, everyone on the same side. This may remove the notion of questions as being something to apprehension and replace this with something a bit more collaborative – questions as the direct to progress.

Creating some certainty for yourself around questions allows you to bring to light your eyes and enjoy the presentation, all the ups and downs, and twists and turns – and that growths your chance of a positive result.

John Scarrott is a trainer and instructor working with design professionals on their approach to influential communication. Discover to be him on Twitter @JohnDScarrott or check out his website where you can find other expedient articles on this subject.

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