160 Questions to Ask After a Presentation

Asking questions after a presentation isn’t just a formality; it’s a gateway to deeper understanding, reflection, and connection.

Whether you’re seeking clarity, offering feedback, or probing into the thoughts and processes behind the content, the right questions can turn a routine presentation into a lively discussion. From engaging with the presenter’s ideas to sparking new insights, follow-up questions are the hidden keys that unlock a world of learning and collaboration.

Table of Contents

Questions to Ask After a Presentation for Feedback

Questions to ask after a presentation interview, questions to ask students after a presentation, questions to ask after a research presentation, questions to ask after a business presentation, questions to ask after a marketing presentation, questions to ask after a book presentation, reflection questions to ask after a presentation, frequently asked questions, is there an etiquette for asking questions in different cultures or settings, what if the presenter answers my question unsatisfactorily.

  • Can you summarize the key points of the presentation?
  • What aspect of the presentation did you find most engaging?
  • Were there any areas that were unclear or confusing? If so, what were they?
  • How would you rate the overall organization and flow of the presentation?
  • Did the visual aids (such as slides or charts) enhance your understanding of the topic? Why or why not?
  • Did the presenter maintain good eye contact and use body language effectively?
  • Was the presenter’s tone and pace suitable for the content and audience?
  • Were there any statistics or facts presented that stood out to you? Why?
  • Did the presenter address potential counter-arguments or opposing views adequately?
  • Were the objectives of the presentation clearly stated and met?
  • How well did the presenter handle questions or interruptions during the presentation?
  • Was there anything in the presentation that seemed unnecessary or redundant?
  • What would you suggest to improve the presentation for future audiences?
  • How did the presentation change or influence your thinking about the subject?
  • Did the presentation feel tailored to the audience’s knowledge and interest level?
  • Was there a clear and compelling call to action or concluding statement?
  • Did the presentation feel too short, too long, or just the right length?
  • What was your overall impression of the presenter’s credibility and expertise on the subject?
  • How would you rate the relevance and importance of the topic to the audience?
  • Can you identify any biases or assumptions in the presentation that may have influenced the message?
  • How did you determine what content to include in your presentation?
  • Can you explain the rationale behind the structure and flow of your presentation?
  • What challenges did you face while preparing this presentation, and how did you overcome them?
  • Were there any points in the presentation where you felt you could have elaborated more or less? Why?
  • How did you decide on the visual elements and design of your presentation?
  • Can you describe your intended audience and how you tailored the content to engage them?
  • How did you ensure that the information presented was accurate and up-to-date?
  • Were there any counter-arguments or opposing views on this topic that you considered including?
  • How would you adapt this presentation for a different audience or context?
  • How do you handle unexpected questions or interruptions during a presentation?
  • Can you give an example of how you’ve handled negative feedback on a presentation in the past?
  • How do you measure the success of a presentation? What metrics or feedback do you seek?
  • What techniques do you use to engage an audience that may not be familiar with the topic?
  • How do you balance the need to entertain and inform in a presentation?
  • How do you prioritize information when you have a limited time to present?
  • What strategies do you employ to ensure that your main points are memorable?
  • How do you deal with nerves or anxiety before or during a presentation?
  • Can you describe a situation where a presentation did not go as planned and how you handled it?
  • How do you keep up with the latest trends and best practices in presenting?
  • Is there anything you would change about this presentation if you were to do it again?
  • How did you feel about the presentation? Were you confident or nervous, and why?
  • What was the main message or goal of your presentation, and do you think you achieved it?
  • How did you decide on the structure of your presentation?
  • What research methods did you use to gather information for this presentation?
  • Were there any challenges you encountered while preparing or presenting, and how did you address them?
  • How did you ensure that your visual aids or multimedia elements supported your key points?
  • What part of the presentation are you most proud of, and why?
  • Were there any areas where you felt uncertain or that you would like to improve upon for next time?
  • How did you tailor your presentation to fit the knowledge level and interest of your audience?
  • What techniques did you use to engage the audience, and how do you think they worked?
  • How did you practice your presentation, and what adjustments did you make as a result?
  • Did you feel the time allotted for your presentation was sufficient? Why or why not?
  • How did you decide what to emphasize or de-emphasize in your presentation?
  • What feedback did you receive from peers during the preparation, and how did you incorporate it?
  • Did you have a clear conclusion or call to action, and why did you choose it?
  • How do you think your presentation style affects the way your audience receives your message?
  • What would you do differently if you were to present this topic again?
  • Can you reflect on a piece of feedback or a question from the audience that made you think?
  • How has this presentation helped you better understand the subject matter?
  • How will the skills and insights gained from this presentation experience benefit you in the future?
  • Can you elaborate on the research question and what prompted you to investigate this topic?
  • How did you choose the methodology for this research, and why was it the most suitable approach?
  • Can you discuss any limitations or constraints within your research design and how they might have affected the results?
  • How do your findings align or contrast with existing literature or previous research in this field?
  • Were there any unexpected findings, and if so, how do you interpret them?
  • How did you ensure the reliability and validity of your data?
  • Can you discuss the ethical considerations involved in your research, and how were they addressed?
  • What are the practical implications of your findings for practitioners in the field?
  • How might your research contribute to theoretical development within this discipline?
  • What recommendations do you have for future research based on your findings?
  • Can you provide more details about your sample size and selection process?
  • How did you handle missing or inconsistent data within your research?
  • Were there any biases that could have influenced the results, and how were they mitigated?
  • How do you plan to disseminate these findings within the academic community or to the broader public?
  • Can you discuss the significance of your research within a broader social, economic, or cultural context?
  • What feedback have you received from peers or advisors on this research, and how has it shaped your work?
  • How does your research fit into your long-term academic or professional goals?
  • Were there any particular challenges in conveying complex research findings to a general audience, and how did you address them?
  • How does this research presentation fit into the larger project or research agenda, if applicable?
  • Can you provide more insight into the interdisciplinary aspects of your research, if any, and how they contributed to the depth or breadth of understanding?
  • Can you elaborate on the primary objectives and expected outcomes of this business initiative?
  • How does this strategy align with the overall mission and vision of the company?
  • What are the key performance indicators (KPIs) that you’ll be monitoring to gauge success?
  • Can you discuss the risks associated with this plan, and how have you prepared to mitigate them?
  • How does this proposal fit within the current market landscape, and what sets it apart from competitors?
  • What are the potential financial implications of this plan, including both investments and projected returns?
  • Can you provide more detail about the timeline and milestones for implementation?
  • What internal and external resources will be required, and how have you planned to allocate them?
  • How did you gather and analyze the data presented, and how does it support your conclusions?
  • How does this proposal take into account regulatory compliance and ethical considerations?
  • What are the potential challenges or roadblocks, and what strategies are in place to overcome them?
  • Can you explain how this initiative aligns with or affects other ongoing projects or departments within the company?
  • How will this plan impact stakeholders, and how have their interests and concerns been addressed?
  • What contingency plans are in place if the initial strategy doesn’t achieve the desired results?
  • How will success be communicated and celebrated within the organization?
  • What opportunities for collaboration or partnership with other organizations exist within this plan?
  • How does this proposal consider sustainability and the potential long-term impact on the environment and community?
  • How have you incorporated feedback or lessons learned from previous similar initiatives?
  • What are the key takeaways you’d like us to remember from this presentation?
  • How can we get involved or support this initiative moving forward?
  • Can you elaborate on the target audience for this marketing campaign, and how were they identified?
  • What are the main objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs) for this campaign?
  • How does this marketing strategy align with the overall brand values and business goals?
  • What channels will be utilized, and why were they chosen for this particular campaign?
  • Can you discuss the expected return on investment (ROI) and how it will be measured?
  • What are the creative concepts driving this campaign, and how do they resonate with the target audience?
  • How does this campaign consider the competitive landscape, and what sets it apart from competitors’ efforts?
  • What are the potential risks or challenges with this marketing plan, and how will they be mitigated?
  • Can you provide more details about the budget allocation across different marketing channels and activities?
  • How have customer insights or feedback been integrated into the campaign strategy?
  • What contingency plans are in place if certain elements of the campaign do not perform as expected?
  • How will this marketing initiative be integrated with other departments or business functions, such as sales or customer service?
  • How does this campaign consider sustainability or social responsibility, if at all?
  • What tools or technologies will be used to execute and monitor this campaign?
  • Can you discuss the timeline and key milestones for the launch and ongoing management of the campaign?
  • How will the success of this campaign be communicated both internally and externally?
  • How does this marketing strategy consider potential regulatory or compliance issues?
  • How will the campaign be adapted or customized for different markets or segments, if applicable?
  • What lessons from previous campaigns were applied in the development of this strategy?
  • How can we, as a team or as individuals, support the successful implementation of this marketing plan?
  • What inspired the main theme or concept of the book?
  • Can you describe the intended audience for this book, and why they would find it appealing?
  • How did the characters’ development contribute to the overall message of the book?
  • What research was conducted (if any) to ensure the authenticity of the setting, characters, or events?
  • Were there any challenges or ethical considerations in writing or presenting this book?
  • How does this book fit into the current literary landscape or genre? What sets it apart?
  • What do you believe readers will find most engaging or thought-provoking about this book?
  • Can you discuss any symbolic elements or literary devices used in the book and their significance?
  • How does the book’s structure (e.g., point of view, chronological order) contribute to its impact?
  • What were the emotional highs and lows during the writing or reading of this book, and how do they reflect in the story?
  • How does the book address or reflect contemporary social, cultural, or political issues?
  • Were there any parts of the book that were particularly difficult or rewarding to write or read?
  • How does this book relate to the author’s previous works or the evolution of their writing style?
  • What feedback or responses have been received from readers, critics, or peers, and how have they influenced the presentation?
  • What are the main takeaways or lessons you hope readers will gain from this book?
  • How might this book be used in educational settings, and what age group or courses would it be suitable for?
  • Can you discuss the process of editing, publishing, or marketing the book, if applicable?
  • How does the book’s cover art or design reflect its content or attract its target readership?
  • Are there plans for a sequel, adaptation, or related works in the future?
  • How can readers stay engaged with the author or the book’s community, such as through social media, book clubs, or events?
  • How do you feel the presentation went overall, and why?
  • What part of the presentation are you most proud of, and what made it successful?
  • Were there any moments where you felt challenged or uncertain? How did you handle those moments?
  • How did you perceive the audience’s engagement and reaction? Were there any surprises?
  • What feedback have you received from others, and how does it align with your self-assessment?
  • Were there any technical difficulties or unexpected obstacles, and how were they addressed?
  • How well did you manage your time during the presentation? Were there areas that needed more or less focus?
  • How did you feel before the presentation, and how did those feelings change throughout?
  • What strategies did you use to connect with the audience, and how effective were they?
  • Were there any points that you felt were misunderstood or could have been communicated more clearly?
  • How did the preparation process contribute to the overall success or challenges of the presentation?
  • What did you learn about yourself as a communicator or presenter through this experience?
  • Were there any ethical considerations in the content or delivery of the presentation, and how were they handled?
  • How does this presentation align with your long-term goals or professional development?
  • How would you approach this presentation differently if you had to do it again?
  • How has this presentation affected your confidence or skills in public speaking or presenting?
  • What resources or support would have enhanced your preparation or performance?
  • How will you apply what you’ve learned from this presentation to future projects or presentations?
  • How did your understanding of the topic change or deepen through the process of preparing and presenting?
  • What steps will you take to continue improving or building on the skills demonstrated in this presentation?

Cultural sensitivity and awareness of the specific setting are crucial. Remember to:

  • Understand Cultural Norms: familiarize yourself with what’s considered polite or appropriate.
  • Respect Hierarchies: in some cultures, questioning authority might be discouraged.
  • Follow Established Protocols: adhere to the particular rules or customs of the venue or forum.

If you find the response lacking, you may:

  • Ask a Follow-Up: politely request more detail or clarification.
  • Discuss Privately: if it’s complex, consider discussing one-on-one after the session.
  • Respect Differences: recognize that you may have different opinions or interpretations.

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Bea Mariel Saulo

Bea is an editor and writer with a passion for literature and self-improvement. Her ability to combine these two interests enables her to write informative and thought-provoking articles that positively impact society. She enjoys reading stories and listening to music in her spare time.

Home Blog Business Business Presentation: The Ultimate Guide to Making Powerful Presentations (+ Examples)

Business Presentation: The Ultimate Guide to Making Powerful Presentations (+ Examples)

Business Presentation Ultimate Guide plus examples

A business presentation is a purpose-led summary of key information about your company’s plans, products, or practices, designed for either internal or external audiences. Project proposals, HR policy presentations, investors briefings are among the few common types of presentations. 

Compelling business presentations are key to communicating important ideas, persuading others, and introducing new offerings to the world. Hence, why business presentation design is one of the most universal skills for any professional. 

This guide teaches you how to design and deliver excellent business presentations. Plus, breaks down some best practices from business presentation examples by popular companies like Google, Pinterest, and Amazon among others! 

3 General Types of Business Presentations

A business presentation can be given for a number of reasons. Respectively, they differ a lot in terms of content and purpose. 

But overall, all types of business presentations can be classified as:

  • Informative
  • Persuasive 
  • Supporting 

Informative Business Presentation 

As the name suggests, the purpose of an informative presentation is to discern the knowledge you have — explain what you know. It’s the most common type of business presentation out there. So you have probably prepared such at least several times. 

Examples of informative presentations:

  • Team briefings presentation 
  • Annual stakeholder report 
  • Quarterly business reviews
  • Business portfolio presentation
  • Business plan presentation
  • Project presentation

Helpful templates from SlideModel:

  • Business plan PowerPoint template
  • Business review PowerPoint template
  • Project proposal PowerPoint template
  • Corporate annual report template

Persuasive Business Presentation 

The goal of this type of presentation is to persuade your audience of your point of view — convince them of what you believe is right. Developing business presentations of this caliber requires a bit more copywriting mastery, as well as expertise in public speaking . Unlike an informative business presentation, your goal here is to sway the audience’s opinions and prompt them towards the desired action. 

Examples of persuasive presentations:

  • Pitch deck/investor presentations
  • Sales presentation  
  • Business case presentation 
  • Free business proposal presentation
  • Business proposal PowerPoint template
  • Pitch deck PowerPoint template
  • Account Plan PowerPoint template

Supporting Business Presentation 

This category of business PowerPoint presentations is meant to facilitate decision-making — explain how we can get something done. The underlying purpose here is to communicate the general “action plan”. Then break down the necessary next steps for bringing it to life. 

Examples of supporting presentations:

  • Roadmap presentation
  • Project vision presentation 
  • After Action Review presentation 
  • Standard operating procedure (SOP) PowerPoint template 
  • Strategy map PowerPoint template 
  • After action review (ARR) PowerPoint template 

What Should Be Included in a Business Presentation?

Overall, the content of your business presentation will differ depending on its purpose and type. However, at the very minimum, all business presentations should include:

  • Introductory slide 
  • Agenda/purpose slide
  • Main information or Content slides
  • Key Takeaways slides
  • Call-to-action/next steps slides

We further distill business presentation design and writing best practices in the next section (plus, provide several actionable business PowerPoint presentation examples!). 

How to Make a Business Presentation: Actionable Tips

A business presentation consists of two parts — a slide deck and a verbal speech. In this section, we provide tips and strategies for nailing your deck design. 

1. Get Your Presentation Opening Right 

The first slides of your presentation make or break your success. Why? By failing to frame the narrative and set the scene for the audience from the very beginning, you will struggle to keep their interest throughout the presentation. 

You have several ways of how to start a business presentation:

  • Use a general informative opening — a summative slide, sharing the agenda and main points of the discussion. 
  • Go for a story opening — a more creative, personal opening, aimed at pulling the audience into your story. 
  • Try a dramatic opening — a less apparent and attention-grabbing opening technique, meant to pique the audience’s interest. 

Standard Informative Opening 

Most business presentation examples you see start with a general, informative slide such as an Agenda, Problem Statement, or Company Introduction. That’s the “classic” approach. 

To manage the audience’s expectations and prepare them for what’s coming next, you can open your presentation with one or two slides stating:

  • The topic of your presentation — a one-sentence overview is enough. 
  • Persuasive hook, suggesting what’s in it for the audience and why they should pay attention. 
  • Your authority — the best technique to establish your credibility in a business presentation is to share your qualifications and experience upfront to highlight why you are worth listening to. 

Opening best suited for: Formal business presentations such as annual reports and supporting presentations to your team/business stakeholders. 

Story Opening 

Did you ever notice that most TED talks start with a quick personal story? The benefit of this presenting technique is that it enables speakers to establish quick rapport and hold the listener’s attention. 

Here’s how Nancy Duarte, author of “Slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations” book and TED presenter, recommends opening a presentation: 

You know, here’s the status quo, here’s what’s going on. And then you need to compare that to what could be. You need to make that gap as big as possible, because there is this commonplace of the status quo, and you need to contrast that with the loftiness of your idea. 

Storytelling , like no other tool, helps transpose the audience into the right mindset and get concentrated on the subject you are about to discuss. A story also elicits emotions, which can be a powerful ally when giving persuasive presentations. In the article how to start a presentation , we explore this in more detail.

Opening best suited for: Personal and business pitches, sales presentations, other types of persuasive presentations. 

Dramatic Opening 

Another common technique is opening your presentation with a major statement, sometimes of controversial nature. This can be a shocking statistic, complex rhetoric question, or even a provocative, contrarian statement, challenging the audience’s beliefs. 

Using a dramatic opening helps secure the people’s attention and capture their interest. You can then use storytelling to further drill down your main ideas. 

If you are an experienced public speaker, you can also strengthen your speech with some unexpected actions. That’s what Bill Gates does when giving presentations. In a now-iconic 2009 TED talk about malaria, mid-presentation Gates suddenly reveals that he actually brought a bunch of mosquitoes with him. He cracks open a jar with non-malaria-infected critters to the audience’s surprise. His dramatic actions, paired with a passionate speech made a mighty impression. 

Opening best suited for: Marketing presentations, customer demos, training presentations, public speeches. 

Further reading: How to start a presentation: tips and examples. 

2. Get Your PowerPoint Design Right

Surely, using professional business PowerPoint templates already helps immensely with presentation deck design since you don’t need to fuss over slide layout, font selection, or iconography. 

Even so, you’ll still need to customize your template(s) to make them on brand and better suited to the presentation you’re about to deliver. Below are our best presentation design tips to give your deck an extra oomph. 

Use Images, Instead of Bullet Points 

If you have ever watched Steve Jobs’s presentations, you may have noticed that he never used bullet-point lists. Weird right? Because using bullet points is the most universal advice in presentation design. 

business presentation questions

But there’s a valid scientific reason why Jobs favored images over bullet-point texts. Researchers found that information delivered in visuals is better retained than words alone. This is called the “ pictorial superiority effect ”. As John Medina, a molecular biologist, further explains :

“Hear a piece of information, and three days later you’ll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you’ll remember 65%.”

So if your goal is to improve the memorability of your presentation, always replace texts with images and visualizations when it makes sense. 

Fewer Slides is Better

No matter the value, a long PowerPoint presentation becomes tiring at some point. People lose focus and stop retaining the information. Thus, always take some extra time to trim the fluff and consolidate some repetitive ideas within your presentation. 

For instance, at McKinsey new management consultants are trained to cut down the number of slides in client presentations. In fact, one senior partner insists on replacing every 20 slides with only two slides . Doing so prompts you to focus on the gist — the main business presentation ideas you need to communicate and drop filler statements. 

Here are several quick tips to shorten your slides:

  • Use a three-arc structure featuring a clear beginning (setup), main narrative (confrontation), ending (resolution). Drop the ideas that don’t fit into either of these. 
  • Write as you tweet. Create short, on-point text blurbs of under 156 symbols, similar to what you’d share on Twitter. 
  • Contextualize your numbers. Present any relevant statistics in a context, relevant to the listeners. Turn longer stats into data visualizations for easier cognition. 

Consistency is Key 

In a solid business presentation, each slide feels like part of the connecting story. To achieve such consistency apply the same visual style and retain the same underlying message throughout your entire presentation.

Use the same typography, color scheme, and visual styles across the deck. But when you need to accentuate a transition to a new topic (e.g. move from a setup to articulating the main ideas), add some new visual element to signify the slight change in the narrative. 

Further reading: 23 PowerPoint Presentation Tips for Creating Engaging and Interactive Presentations

3. Make Your Closure Memorable 

We best remember the information shared last. So make those business presentation takeaways stick in the audience’s memory. We have three strategies for that. 

Use the Rule of Three 

The Rule of Three is a literary concept, suggesting that we best remember and like ideas and concepts when they are presented in threes. 

Many famous authors and speakers use this technique:

  • “Duty – Honor – Country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, and what you will be” . Gen. Douglas MacArthur.
  • “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” are the unalienable rights of all humans that governments are meant to protect.” Thomas Jefferson 

The Rule of Three works because three is the maximum number of items most people can remember on their first attempt. Likewise, such pairings create a short, familiar structure that is easy to remember for our brains. 

Try the Title Close Technique

Another popular presentation closing technique is “Title Close” — going back to the beginning of your narrative and reiterating your main idea (title) in a form of a takeaway. Doing so helps the audience better retain your core message since it’s repeated at least two times. Plus, it brings a sense of closure — a feel-good state our brains love. Also, a brief one-line closure is more memorable than a lengthy summary and thus better retained. 

Ask a Question 

If you want to keep the conversation going once you are done presenting, you can conclude your presentation with a general question you’d like the audience to answer.

Alternatively, you can also encourage the members to pose questions to you. The latter is better suited for informational presentations where you’d like to further discuss some of the matters and secure immediate feedback. 

Try adding an interactive element like a QR code closing your presentation with a QR code and having a clear CTA helps you leverage the power of sharing anything you would like to share with your clients. QR codes can be customized to look alike your brand. With the help of the best QR code generator , you can create a QR code that’s secure and trackable.

12 Business Presentation Examples and What Makes Them Great 

Now that we equipped you with the general knowledge on how to make a presentation for business, let’s take a look at how other presenters are coping with this job and what lessons you can take away from them. 

1. N26 Digital Bank Pitch Deck 

The Future of Banking by N26. An example of a Business Presentation with a nice cover image.

This is a fine business pitch presentation example, hitting all the best practices. The deck opens with a big shocking statement that most Millennials would rather go to the dentist than step into a bank branch. 

Then it proceeds to discuss the company’s solution to the above — a fully digital bank with a paperless account opening process, done in 8 minutes. After communicating the main product features and value proposition, the deck further conceptualizes what traction the product got so far using data visualizations. The only thing it lacks is a solid call-to-action for closing slides as the current ending feels a bit abrupt. 

2. WeWork Pitch Deck

Business Presentation Example by WeWork

For a Series D round, WeWork went with a more formal business presentation. It starts with laying down the general company information and then transitions to explaining their business model, current market conditions, and the company’s position on the market.

The good thing about this deck is that they quantify their business growth prospects and value proposition. The likely gains for investors are shown in concrete numbers. However, those charts go one after another in a row, so it gets a bit challenging to retain all data points. 

The last part of their presentation is focused on a new offering, “We Live”. It explains why the team seeks funds to bring it to life. Likewise, they back their reasoning with market size statistics, sample projects, and a five-year revenue forecast. 

3. Redfin Investor Presentation 

Redfin Investor Presentation for Business. A Technology-Powered Real Estate Company.

If you are looking for a “text-light” business presentation example, Redfin’s investor deck is up to your alley. This simple deck expertly uses iconography, charts, and graphs to break down the company’s business model, value proposition, market share, and competitive advantages over similar startups. For number-oriented investors, this is a great deck design to use. 

4. Google Ready Together Presentation 

This isn’t quite the standard business presentation example per se. But rather an innovative way to create engaging, interactive presentations of customer case studies .

Interactive Online Presentation example by Google, from Customer Insights.  Google Ready Together Presentation.

The short deck features a short video clip from a Google client, 7-11, explaining how they used the company’s marketing technology to digitally transform their operations and introduce a greater degree of marketing automation . The narrated video parts are interrupted by slides featuring catchy stats, contextualizing issues other businesses are facing. Then transitions to explaining through the words of 7-11 CMO, how Google’s technology is helping them overcome the stated shortcomings.

5. Salesforce Business Presentation Example 

This is a great example of an informational presentation, made by the Salesforce team to share their research on customer experience (CX) with prospects and existing customers.

Business Presentation Example by Service Salesforce on How to Know Your Customer. A look into the Future of Customer Experience.

The slide deck errs on the lengthier side with 58 slides total. But bigger topics are broken down and reinforced through bite-sized statistics and quotes from the company leadership. They are also packaging the main tips into memorable formulas, itemized lists, and tables. Overall, this deck is a great example of how you can build a compelling narrative using different statistics. 

6. Mastercard Business Presentation

This slide deck from Mastercard instantly captures the audience’s attention with unusual background images and major data points on the growth of populations, POS systems, and payment methods used in the upcoming decade.

Business Presentation by MasterCard on Technology and Payment solutions. The Unfinished Revolution.

Perhaps to offset the complexity of the subject, Mastercard chose to sprinkle in some humor in presentation texts and used comic-style visuals to supplement that. However, all their animations are made in a similar style, creating a good sense of continuity in design. They are also using colors to signify the transition from one part of the presentation to another. 

In the second part, the slide deck focuses on distilling the core message of what businesses need to do to remain competitive in the new payments landscape. The team presents what they have been working on to expand the payment ecosystem. Then concludes with a “title close” styled call-to-action, mirroring the presentation title.

7. McKinsey Diversity & Inclusion Presentation 

This fresh business slide deck from McKinsey is a great reference point for making persuasive business presentations on complex topics such as D&I. First, it recaps the main definitions of the discussed concepts — diversity, equity, and inclusion — to ensure alignment with the audience members. 

Business Presentation Example by McKinsey Company on Diversity Wins: How inclusion matters.

Next, the business presentation deck focuses on the severity and importance of the issue for businesses, represented through a series of graphs and charts. After articulating the “why”, the narrative switches to “how” — how leaders can benefit from investment in D&I. The main points are further backed with data and illustrated via examples. 

8. Accenture Presentation for the Energy Sector

Similar to McKinsey, Accenture keeps its slide deck on a short. Yet the team packs a punch within each slide through using a mix of fonts, graphical elements, and color for highlighting the core information. The presentation copy is on a longer side, prompting the audience to dwell on reading the slides. But perhaps this was meant by design as the presentation was also distributed online — via the company blog and social media. 

Business Presentation Example by Accenture on Accelerating Innovation in Energy.

The last several slides of the presentation deck focus on articulating the value Accenture can deliver for their clients in the Energy sector. They expertly break down their main value proposition and key service lines, plus quantify the benefits. 

9. Amazon Web Services (AWS) Technical Presentation 

Giving an engaging technical presentation isn’t an easy task. You have to balance the number of details you reveal on your slides to prevent overwhelm, while also making sure that you don’t leave out any crucial deets. This technical presentation from AWS does great in both departments. 

Business Presentation created by AWS explaining how to build forecasting using ML/DL algorithms.

First, you get entertained with a quick overview of Amazon’s progress in machine learning (ML) forecasting capabilities over the last decade. Then introduced to the main tech offering. The deck further explains what you need to get started with Amazon Forecast — e.g. dataset requirements, supported forecasting scenarios, available forecasting models, etc. 

The second half of the presentation provides a quick training snippet on configuring Amazon SageMaker to start your first project. The step-by-step instructions are coherent and well-organized, making the reader excited to test-drive the product. 

10. Snapchat Company Presentation

Snapchat’s business model presentation is on a funkier, more casual side, reflective of the company’s overall brand and positioning. After briefly recapping what they do, the slide deck switches to discussing the company’s financials and revenue streams.

business presentation questions

This business slide deck by Snap Inc. itself is rather simplistic and lacks fancy design elements. But it has a strong unified theme of showing the audience Snapchat’s position on the market and projected vector of business development. 

11. Visa Business Acquisition Presentation 

VISA Acquisition of Plaid Business presentation.

If you are working on a business plan or M&A presentation for stakeholders of your own, this example from Visa will be helpful. The presentation deck expertly breaks down the company’s rationale for purchasing Plaid and subsequent plans for integrating the startup into their business ecosystem. 

The business deck recaps why the Plaid acquisition is a solid strategic decision by highlighting the total addressable market they could dive into post-deal. Then it details Plaid’s competitive strengths. The slide deck then sums up all the monetary and indirect gains Visa could reap as an acquirer. 

12. Pinterest Earnings Report Presentation 

Pinterest Business Presentation Example with Annual Report

Annual reports and especially earnings presentations might not be the most exciting types of documents to work on, but they have immense strategic value. Hence, there’s little room for ambiguities or mistakes. 

In twelve slides, this business presentation from Pinterest clearly communicates the big picture of the company’s finance in 2021. All the key numbers are represented as featured quotes in the sidebar with diagrams further showcasing the earning and spending dynamics. Overall, the data is easy to interpret even for non-finance folks. 

To Conclude 

With these business presentation design tips, presentation templates , and examples, you can go from overwhelmed to confident about your next presentation design in a matter of hours. Focus on creating a rough draft first using a template. Then work on nailing your opening slide sequence and shortening the texts in the main part of your presentation when needed. Make sure that each slide serves a clear purpose and communicates important details. To make your business presentation deck more concise, remove anything that does not pertain to the topic. 

Finally, once you are done, share your business presentation with other team members to get their feedback and reiterate the final design.

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Business Presentations, Corporate Presentations, Design, Design Inspiration, Examples, Executive Reports, Inspiration, Presentation Ideas Filed under Business

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How to Nail the Q&A After Your Presentation

  • Caroline Webb

business presentation questions

You can’t rehearse it, but you can be prepared.

When preparing to give a presentation, most professionals focus their energy on the main portion of their talk — their key messages, slides, and takeaways. And far too few people think through how you’ll answer questions at the end of the presentation can be a big mistake. If you’re worried about how to hand the Q&A, there are several things you can do. Change your mindset. Rather than dreading this part of the talk, develop an appreciation for the conversation. It’s a good thing that people have follow-up questions and want to further engage with your content. Beforehand, think through the types of questions audience members might ask. Put yourself in your shoes and ask yourself what concerns they might have about how your message impacts their job. Then, when you’re asked a question, especially one that might be contentious, start your answer by focusing on where you and the person asking it agree. This makes the person feel seen and connected to you. And if you’re asked a question out of left field, be curious. Ask follow-up questions that help you understand what they’re getting at and where they’re coming from.

If you’re not a huge fan of public speaking , you’re in good company. It’s such a widely shared source of anxiety that when psychologists want to induce unpleasant stress in a person for experimental purposes, they often use a public speaking task called the Trier Social Stress Test . The test requires people to give a talk and do sums in front of a panel of impassive listeners, and it reliably generates stress markers such as a faster heart rate, raised cortisol levels, and “enhanced skin conductance,” which is the polite way of saying sweaty palms.

business presentation questions

  • Caroline Webb  is the author of  How to Have a Good Day: Harness the Power of Behavioral Science to Transform Your Working Life .  She is also CEO of coaching firm  Sevenshift , and a Senior Adviser to McKinsey & Company. Follow her on Twitter  @caroline_webb_ ,  Facebook , or  Google + .

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10 must-have slides in a business presentation

Nearly every professional, regardless of their role and field, will create and deliver a business presentation at some point in their career. Creating a slide deck takes a lot of preparation, including planning the content, structuring the slides, designing with appealing visuals and rehearsing the pitch.

  The 10-20-30 rule is a commonly used and much-praised structure for creating a business presentation. Following the 10-20-30 rule, the presenter should not present more than 10 slides, should not exceed 20 minutes, and should not use font sizes less than 30 point. Created by Guy Kawasaki , this method is for presenters to create and deliver impactful presentation.

  For a business deck, presenting your content in 10 slides can be a challenging task, as your messaging needs to be concise yet persuasive. Here are 10 slides that you should include in your business presentation to make your slide deck a success.

1. Title slide

This is the introduction slide that gives your audience an overview of what your presentation is about. Include important details like your topic, company name, logo, date of presentation, presenter name, and designation.

What makes a good title slide?

If you’re promoting a product or a service to your audience, then use a picture of it in the title slide instead of stock images. Provide crucial details that help your audience understand what they can expect from the session. Use a clean, simple font style in an appropriate size with a contrasting background to make the title easy to read.

2. Problem statement 

The objective of a business presentation should be to offer a solution to a business problem. Use this slide to define the problem for which you’re proposing a solution. Make your points clear, concise, and persuasive by highlighting the impact it has on the business.

What makes a good problem statement slide?

State the business problem you’ve set out to solve. Involve your audience by asking them if they have a solution to the above problem and then explain how your idea can impact the business. Make your content precise and easy to read without overwhelming your audience with too much information.

Define the goals you’re aiming to achieve through this presentation and list them as stages in your plan. Demonstrate your goals as points with a realistic timeline for each milestone.

What makes a good goals slide?

  Goals help set the direction for your business plan. Let’s say you’re launching a new product in the market and need to list the various milestones you’re aiming to accomplish to get the product to your audience. Instead of showcasing them as plain bullet points, break them down into milestones with timelines. Explain them in a few words and emphasize key points with animation effects and icons to make it visually appealing.

  4. Solution or Strategy

Now that you have mentioned the problem and set goals for your business, use this slide to talk about how you’re planning to achieve them. Write an overview of your strategy and plan of action and highlight the key points.

What makes a good solution slide?

Introduce your strategy with an impressive title and emphasize important content using text effects. Make your content compelling by highlighting the benefits of your strategy and presenting your solution as a narrative with eye-catching visuals and icons.

  5. Analysis

Your market, SWOT, and competitor analysis form an essential component in laying out your business plan in detail. Use supporting data in your business presentation to walk your audience through the analysis.

business presentation questions

What makes a good analysis slide?

If your slide deck is for a product launch, then validate your strategy by including your analysis of the market, competitors, and your target customers to understand your position in the business. Instead of plain text, use charts and tables to explain your insights for these numbers. Bring your data to life with animation and text effects.

6. Financial plan and revenue    

Your business presentation should include your financial plan, revenue projections, and other relevant metrics necessary to measure the success of your business strategy.

What makes a good finance slide?

Present the budget required for different business stages like research, development, execution, marketing, etc. Use charts to break down your finances in planned stages. Add visuals and bring your charts to life with animation and effects.

Every business deck needs supporting data to validate your analysis and plan. Use charts and tables to help your audience understand your business position better.

business presentation questions

  What makes a good data slide?

For business presentations like project management, add data to compare and analyze your plan and  identify  areas of improvement. Determine the best chart style to showcase your numbers and highlight the compelling data points, then add a line or two of your own conclusions from these numbers and explain them in detail during the presentation.

8. Timeline  

Setting up a timeline for your business is crucial as it establishes the direction, priorities, and roadmap for achieving your business goals. You can also use a timeline to showcase your company’s journey by featuring various milestones, starting with its inception and highlighting some of your prominent projects to date.

What makes a good timeline slide?

Make your timeline slide less text-heavy and more visual with a timeline chart to take your audience through the various milestones. Add visuals, icons, and path animations to make your timeline visually engaging.

Introducing your team members forms an integral part of your business presentation as its sends a strong message of your company’s expertise. For a small business, you can introduce all your employees, while bigger companies should introduce members crucial for the operation of your company.

business presentation questions

What makes a good team slide?

For presentations like a project report or sales pitch, it’s necessary to include your team slide as the audience needs to know the members involved in the project. Include headshots of your team members with their title/designation, along with a short description of their role in the business.

10. Q&A or End Slide

This will be the closing slide of your business presentation and must leave a lasting impact on your audience. If you want to answer audience questions, schedule your Q&A session at the end of your presentation.

What makes a good end slide?

A good end slide recaps your overall presentation and contains your company’s important details. Close your presentation with a rhetorical question to make a thought-provoking impact on your audience.

  For nearly every type of business presentation or pitch, these ten slides will help you create a strong framework for your slide deck. However, don’t forget that different sorts of business presentations have their styles and needs based on the objective, industry, and the target audience. To learn more about some best practices for creating a presentation template for every industry,   take a look at our previous blog post .

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15 Business Presentation Interview Questions and Answers

Prepare for the types of questions you are likely to be asked when interviewing for a position where Business Presentation skills will be used.

business presentation questions

Giving a presentation is always nerve-wracking, whether it’s to a small group of people or a large audience. And if the presentation is for a job interview, the stakes are even higher. You need to make a good impression and sell yourself as the best candidate for the job.

To help you prepare, we’ve compiled a list of common business presentation interview questions and answers. These questions will test your ability to think on your feet, stay calm under pressure, and deliver a clear and concise presentation.

  • How do you prepare for a business presentation?
  • What are some ways to ensure that the audience listens to your presentation and doesn’t get distracted by other things?
  • How would you convince someone who is skeptical about what you’re saying in a presentation?
  • What’s the best way to deal with questions from the audience during a presentation?
  • Can you explain why it’s important to create an outline before writing a presentation?
  • What steps should be taken when preparing for a presentation?
  • What does a good presentation need?
  • When making a presentation, how can you make sure you are being understood correctly by the audience?
  • In your opinion, what makes a presentation effective?
  • Can you explain the process of creating a presentation?
  • Can you give me some examples of presentations where the presenter was very successful?
  • Can you explain the difference between effectiveness and efficiency? Which one is more important in a business context? Why?
  • What do you understand about storytelling as it pertains to business presentations?
  • What is the importance of data visualization in business presentations?
  • What are some common mistakes made while presenting information to others?

1. How do you prepare for a business presentation?

This question can help interviewers understand how you use your time and organize yourself. It’s important to show that you’re organized, prepared and able to meet deadlines.

Example: “I start preparing for a presentation at least two weeks in advance. I first read through the entire project brief to make sure I have all of the information I need. Then, I create an outline with key points I want to cover during my presentation. Finally, I write out my speech and practice it until I feel comfortable delivering it.”

2. What are some ways to ensure that the audience listens to your presentation and doesn’t get distracted by other things?

Presentation skills are important for any business professional, but they’re especially crucial for those who give presentations. Employers ask this question to make sure you know how to keep an audience’s attention and ensure that they understand your message. In your answer, explain what strategies you use to keep the audience focused on your presentation.

Example: “I always try to make my slides easy to read so that people can follow along without having to squint or strain their eyes. I also speak clearly and loudly enough that everyone in the room can hear me. If someone asks a question during my presentation, I take a brief pause before answering so that I have time to think about my response.”

3. How would you convince someone who is skeptical about what you’re saying in a presentation?

This question is a great way to test your presentation skills and how you can persuade others. It’s important to show that you have the ability to convince someone who doesn’t believe in what you’re saying, as this could be an issue with clients or customers.

Example: “I would first try to understand why they are skeptical about my ideas. I would then use evidence from previous projects to support my claims. If they still aren’t convinced, I would ask them for more information on their concerns so I can address them specifically.”

4. What’s the best way to deal with questions from the audience during a presentation?

Presentations often involve questions from the audience. Employers ask this question to make sure you have strategies for handling these types of situations. In your answer, explain how you would respond to a question during a presentation. Explain that you would try to answer the question as thoroughly as possible while still keeping your presentation on track.

Example: “I always welcome questions from the audience during my presentations. I find it helpful when people can ask me about specific details or clarifications. If someone asks me a question during a presentation, I will pause and take a moment to think about my response. I want to be able to give them an in-depth answer without taking too much time away from the rest of the presentation. I also like to encourage other attendees to chime in with their own thoughts if they have something to add.”

5. Can you explain why it’s important to create an outline before writing a presentation?

This question is a great way to assess your presentation skills and how you plan out your work. Your answer should show the interviewer that you understand the importance of outlining before writing a business presentation.

Example: “It’s important to outline before writing a presentation because it helps me organize my thoughts and ideas. I find that when I write an outline first, I can more easily create a well-organized and cohesive presentation. This saves me time in the long run as I don’t have to rewrite or edit my work as much.”

6. What steps should be taken when preparing for a presentation?

This question is an opportunity to show your knowledge of the process and how you use it. You can answer by listing the steps, explaining what each one means and giving examples of when you’ve used them in a presentation.

Example: “The first step I take when preparing for a presentation is researching my topic. I make sure that I have all the information I need about the subject so I can speak confidently about it. Next, I create an outline of the points I want to cover during my presentation. This helps me organize my thoughts and ensures that I don’t forget anything important. Finally, I practice my speech several times until I feel comfortable with it.”

7. What does a good presentation need?

This question is a great way to test your knowledge of what makes a good presentation. It also allows you to show the interviewer that you know how to create an effective presentation and why it’s important to do so.

Example: “A good presentation needs to have a clear message, visuals and supporting evidence. A presenter should be able to clearly explain their ideas in a concise manner and use visual aids like graphs or charts to help support their claims. Evidence can include testimonials from clients or data collected by the company.”

8. When making a presentation, how can you make sure you are being understood correctly by the audience?

Presentation skills are an important part of business, and employers want to know that you can effectively communicate your ideas. Answer this question by explaining how you ensure the audience understands what you’re saying. You can also mention any techniques or methods you use to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Example: “I always try to speak clearly and slowly when making a presentation so that I am easily understood. If someone asks me to repeat something, I do so without getting flustered. This shows them that I care about their understanding and helps me avoid repeating myself too much. I also take time before my presentation to practice in front of a mirror so I can see if there are any words I’m mispronouncing.”

9. In your opinion, what makes a presentation effective?

This question can help interviewers understand your presentation skills and how you use them to achieve success. When answering, it can be helpful to mention a few things that make presentations effective and explain why they’re important.

Example: “I believe the most important thing about a presentation is making sure the audience understands what I’m saying. If they don’t know what I’m talking about or if they miss something, then my presentation isn’t effective. Another important part of an effective presentation is having visuals that support my message. Visuals are essential for helping people remember information and reinforcing key points.”

10. Can you explain the process of creating a presentation?

This question is a great way to assess your presentation skills and how you use them. It also allows the interviewer to see if you have any unique or interesting methods for creating presentations.

Example: “I start by researching my topic, which I usually do online. Then, I create an outline of what I want to include in my presentation. After that, I write out each slide with the information I gathered from my research. Finally, I practice my presentation until it’s ready to give in front of others.”

11. Can you give me some examples of presentations where the presenter was very successful?

This question is a great way to show your interviewer that you have experience with business presentations and how they can be beneficial. When answering this question, it’s important to highlight the positive outcomes of the presentation and what skills you used to make them successful.

Example: “In my last role as an account manager for a marketing agency, I was tasked with presenting our ideas for a client’s new website design. We had been working on their project for several months, so we were very familiar with the company and its goals. During my presentation, I started by showing the client’s current website and explaining why we thought redesigning it would help increase sales. Then, I showed our proposed designs and explained each feature and how it would benefit the client.”

12. Can you explain the difference between effectiveness and efficiency? Which one is more important in a business context? Why?

This question is designed to test your understanding of the importance of time management in a business setting. It also helps employers understand how you prioritize tasks and manage your time. When answering this question, it can be helpful to provide an example that shows how efficiency and effectiveness are both important but one may take precedence over the other depending on the situation.

Example: “Effectiveness and efficiency are two sides of the same coin. You need to be efficient at what you do so you have enough time to focus on making sure you’re doing things effectively. For example, if I’m working on a project for my company and I notice that I’ve made a mistake, I’ll stop everything else I’m doing to fix the mistake because fixing mistakes is more important than completing the task efficiently.”

13. What do you understand about storytelling as it pertains to business presentations?

Storytelling is a common element of business presentations. Employers ask this question to make sure you understand the basics of storytelling and how it can help you create more effective business presentations. In your answer, explain what storytelling is and why it’s important for business presentations. Share an example of when you used storytelling in a presentation.

Example: “Storytelling is a powerful tool that helps me connect with my audience. I use storytelling techniques like metaphors and analogies to give my audience a better understanding of the information I’m presenting. For instance, in one presentation I gave on marketing strategies, I told a story about a group of people who were lost at sea. This helped me explain some of the challenges businesses face when trying to market their products.”

14. What is the importance of data visualization in business presentations?

Data visualization is a skill that many professionals in business need to have. The interviewer may ask this question to see if you know how to use data visualization tools and what their purpose is. In your answer, explain the importance of data visualization and give an example of when you used it in a presentation.

Example: “Data visualization is important because it allows people to understand information more quickly than they would otherwise. For my last presentation at my previous job, I had to present sales numbers for the past year. Using data visualization, I was able to show the company’s growth over time by using graphs and charts. This helped everyone understand the information much faster.”

15. What are some common mistakes made while presenting information to others?

Presentation skills are an important part of business communication. Employers ask this question to make sure you know how to avoid common presentation mistakes and ensure your audience understands the information you’re presenting. In your answer, explain what each mistake is and why it’s a problem. You can also share a story about a time when you made one of these mistakes in the past.

Example: “There are several common mistakes that people make while giving presentations. One is not practicing enough before the presentation. If you don’t practice beforehand, you might forget some key points or misspeak something during the presentation. Another mistake is using too many visuals. Sometimes, less is more when it comes to visuals. Too many visuals can distract from the main message you’re trying to get across. A third mistake is not knowing who your audience is. It’s important to tailor your presentation to the needs of your audience.”

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La Fabbrica della Realtà – Excellence in Communication Skills & Business Storytelling

The 16 questions you must answer when you prepare a talk or a presentation

business presentation questions

A guide for entrepreneurs and freelancers

In a summit with another 100 speakers it’s hard to get noticed.  You need to stand out  in a world where conferences are multiplying like crazy, time slots are becoming increasingly short and programs are more and more crammed with talks.

Occasionally you see a unicorn , a great presenter, with a great story and powerful visuals. Oftentimes you linger in the gray zone of the competent, well informed, content rich, but  not so good presenters.

Two approaches

In my opinion there are just  two ways of approaching a presentation.

You could  do your best and hope to get better with time.  Your competition may be as good as you, worse than you or way better. You start from your level and by learning one small thing at each conference you  may  get better in time. Your competition may be on a similar journey and reach and overtake your level at any time.

Either that or  you could study really hard.  This is where it gets interesting for me and where  I can provide you with a ton of value.

Oh, did you just  disconnect  when you read the words “study really hard”?  Yes, you’re busy.  Yes, you may even have some nice presentation books somewhere at home or at the office. You may have been reading some Godin , some Presentation Zen , you may know that Nancy Duarte  exists (and kicks ass). You may even know of this or that coach, of a good webinar. But  you just haven’t got the time for all that.  Right: you need to focus on  product, team, growth.  You need to find investors.  No time to improve your presentation skills.

I  sell courses  so I will tell you that  the best thing you can do is train . But I sense that maybe you would prefer to have something quick and dirty. Maybe a  checklist  that you can go through.

All right: just because you’re so nice, here is  a list of 16 questions that you can ask yourself to make it look like you studied really hard.  Yes, it’s called  cheating , and I’m your  partner in crime  today.

That feeling

Before we go to the 16 questions, allow me to go visit your mind for a second. You and I need to look together at  what happens in your brain when you get the news that you are going to be presenting.

Ready? The first thing that happens has  nothing to do with business.  You are a serious, talented professional, but you are still a human being. This is why at the beginning of your presentation process there is a feeling. A feeling that you know all too well. It can be summarized with the same “Oh, shit!” that you used to say to yourself  when your teacher called you to speak in front of class.

Yes, even though you are a grown up now, you still feel like you have been called by the teacher. Even if a meeting with X Fund or talking a Y Conference is a great opportunity, you still fear it and – instinctively – resist it. That’s fine. Let’s embrace the fear and move on.

What to talk about

When this first sensation subsides you are tasked with  resolving an initial conflict:

  • on one hand as an business person  you know exactly what you want to pitch : your latest product, your offering, your strategy, the way of the future!
  • on the other hand you remember the last time that you were in the audience when someone was just pitching/pitching/pitching.  You don’t want to bore the eyeballs out of the orbits of our audience.

Now you know that you need to find an angle, you need to figure out: “what am I gonna talk about?”

This usually leads to desperation and hope that – while showering the day before the talk – you will get some sort of insight about what to talk about.

It’s doesn’t need to be that way. Whenever you need to give a presentation  all you need is this process made of 16 questions. Once you answer them you are all set to give your presentation.

1. Who is my audience?

Think long and hard about your audience.  If you don’t know them well and they are a limited number spend some time researching information about them. If the audience will be comprised of many people create a “persona” of the typical audience member. Try to understand  what are their stakes.  Why are they invited to the meeting? What are they trying to get from the day?

Yes. I am saying that you should, first of all,  think like an audience member.  Think about what an audience member would want to receive from a speaker.

Chances are  the outcome that they are looking for is not even remotely connected to your goals.  This is why you have a  lot of work to do . But at least now you know in what direction you should work.

Aligning with the goals of your audience may seem counter-intuitive.  But it will help you find a way to package your pitch in such a way that it does not look like a pitch.

Your job is to  repackage your content,  your ideas and your presentation  in order for it to meet both your goals and the goals of your audience.  You will need to compromise on the amount of sales speak that you use. And – probably – you will need to find some new, different topic to talk about that will peak the interest of your audience. This  new topic will allow you , at the appropriate moment,  to shine a light on your product and deliver the pitch.

How do you do that? Let’s get on with the questions to figure it out.

2. What is my audience expecting from me?

Are they even expecting you?  Do they even know who you are? Are you the highlight of the event and everyone knows you or are you a peripheral part of a bigger picture.

If your audience has expectations you should now define them and make sure to meet them.  If your audience has no expectation then its your chance to define them:  the good news is that you can surprise your audience if no expectation is set.

If your audience is  expecting you to be a boring corporate drone you could surprise them  (and get their benevolence and attention) by giving a short, engaging and fun talk.

If your audience is expecting a  dry pitch  you could tell them a  transformative story  rich of useful data and practical takeaways.

If your audience is expecting you to make their day, then you need to work really hard to align your presentation to their expectations.

3. What am I expecting from my audience? What are my desired outcomes?

If you’re there is not just to please an audience:  you surely have an outcome in mind.  Maybe you want your idea to spread or, more often, you need to sell yourself, your services or a product of yours.

If this is compatible with what the audience expects from you, go ahead and introduce those sales and self promotional elements in your presentation.

But  caveat emptor,  if your audience will react negatively to any pitch or sale tactic why don’t you use this occasion to establish a rapport that you will exploit at a later stage?

Sometimes the best way to sell is not to sell at all:  start by  earning the trust, attention and loyalty of the audience.  You can end your presentation on a  call to action  that is only loosely related to your desired outcome. If you want them to buy your product why don’t you offer to send them your ebook in exchange of their email address? If you already have their contacts why don’t you  leave them wanting more of you:  the first meeting has been about education, in the next one you will have more of your pitch.

4. What language and visual style is my audience expecting?

You know your audience better and you have established what they want from you, and you from them. Now it’s time to define what language and visual style you should use to best communicate with them.

Do you know their lingo?  Can you integrate in your language some elements that are familiar to them? Do you want to – strategically – sound distant from their world by using a different vocabulary?

There are many possible strategies: it’s important that you think about  your talk as a unit, made of different components.  The components are: your style, your language, your slides. These should meld together in a coherent way.

If you are going to be presenting with the help of slides take a moment to imagine  what visual style will look best in the eyes of your audience.  The presentation is about you/your product, but is for them.

Try to  look at your material with their eyes and ears.  Align not only with their expectations about content, but also with their visual expectations.

5. What is my core message?

Defining the core message should be easier now that you know what your audience wants: it must include something coming from your knowledge and experience. This “something” should be  useful for your audience to reach their goal and also for you to reach your desired outcome.

Try to remember some of the last talks and presentations you listened to. You probably can  define them with very short sentences  like: Dana presented the Q1 forecast that does not look as bad as everyone expected. Or Larry, the expert in email marketing, talked about the importance of drip campaigns.

These are core message:  you should be able to write yours down in a simple and short sentence.

Take your time to brainstorm possible core messages. After listening to your talk, they are the one thing that your audience will remember.

6. Why is this core message interesting for my audience?

If you brainstormed core messages, chances are you now have  more than one.  How do you narrow down to the one core message your are going to provide in your presentation?

Look at the core messages you have. You probably have a bunch of core messages that are  perfectly aligned with your desired outcome but don’t look so appealing to your audience.  And you could also have a number of core messages that are  exactly what your audience expects, but that don’t allow you enough maneuvering space to include your pitch.

Your way is in the middle of those two groups.  Look for the core messages that align with both your outcomes and the goals of your audience.  But if you fail to find one, go for the one that better meets the expectations of your  audience.

This is the safe bet when it comes to the core message of your talk.

7. What is the best medium for my core message to come through?

Does your audience really want a PowerPoint presentation   from you?  Would you be better off by talking without the help of slides and, maybe, providing a short memo to the attendees?

Whenever it’s allowed by the “etiquette” of your target audience, think about  talking without slides  or using just 2 or 3 slides that help you make a specific point.

You could also have just a few slides with the main topics of your speech, that set the pace for the different sections of your talk.

Don’t default to making a slide show.

8. What gifts can I give?

I am not talking about materials objects or even discounts or coupons. But more important things like tips, techniques and actionable to-do’s. Stuff that remains with the audience, that your audience can repeat every day.

What I am saying is: your talk happens, and then?

Well if your core message was strong it could be remembered. But wouldn’t it be better if your audience  changed their behavior integrating some of your knowledge and ideas in their daily lives?

Do you think it’s far fetched? At the end of most presentations you can provide  something actionable.  This works not only to fixate the presentation in the memory of your audience, but also serves as a nudge to  change their everyday habits.

I am sure that we all have a book we can suggest, a useful practical shortcut, a theory that can be put into practice following steps 1 through 5.

Give gifts: you’ll be remembered.

9. How many slides?

You should not have more than  1 slide per minute of talk , unless you are a super skillful presenter and your visuals kick some serious ass. So a 15 minutes presentation should average 15 slides where you have around 60 seconds per slide.

You can occasionally break this rule, but at the beginning of your public speaking career try to err on the safe side and  go for less slides.

10. How much text?

If you are going to present a deck make sure to have the  least possible amount of text.  Follow these rules:

Optimize text for whoever is sitting in the last row:  text size should be 30 points minimum, anything smaller will be unreadable in many settings so avoid small text. If your font looks huge on your computer, then you have achieved the right size for a projected presentation.

No lists:  each concept should have its own slide. And don’t ever use a bullet point. Those are  banned.  Right!?

Only in case you are preparing a handout that you are not going to display on screen, go for longer text.

11. What template should I use?

My suggestion for you is to start from scratch as many times as possible.  Drop the defaults.  Kick the logos off the slides and focus on your message.

Would it come through better with beautiful typography or great images? Can you draw? Do you have illustrations ready?  Look at your assets but don’t let you get locked in by any predefined template.

One word of advice: once you choose a template, stick to it.

12. What visuals should I use?

Only use the  visuals that will have the best possible impact with your audience.  Think about what they like, what they would appreciate, what they are familiar with.

Your taste should be put to use to decorate your house, not your slides. Remember:  your presentation may be about you, but is for your audience.

13. Should I rehearse?

Yes! Nobody is great at a presentation that has not been rehearsed.  And you will not loose your spontaneity if you spend some time acting out your presentation.

If you can, record your trials and listen to them to optimize your output.

14. Should I memorize my talk?

Not necessarily. But you should have the  sequence clear in your memory.

You should always know by heart what slide comes next, how to transition to it.  Memorize the key “junctions” of your discourse.  This will also boost your confidence on stage and allow to present without slides in case something technical goes wrong.

15. How much time should I devote to the task overall?

You should allot time for:

  • thinking  through your presentation;
  • structuring  it;
  • designing  it;
  • rehearsing  it.

This means that you have to  start way in advance , much earlier than you think. Only if you will be presenting current data that would become stale, you are allowed to put together your materials closer your deadline.

16. How should I plan for all this?

Now its time to start working. Put the conference dates on your calendar and  plan the time you need to think, structure, design and rehearse your presentation.  Make sure to budget the time according to your abilities. Don’t overestimate your ability to prepare  everything at the last minute.

Going from fear to a successful presentation can require time, but is a wonderful journey that will have you sweating on structure and story, have you impersonate your audience and align your goals with theirs. In the process you will better understand them, and your self as well.

Let me end on a high note: the fact that  you are addressing the problem of becoming a better presenter is already sign that you can become one.  The fact that you are reading this article gives me great promise in your growth. You see, 99% of your peers and colleagues don’t even think that presentations can be a great way to communicate, engage, inform and move to action. You do and you have an  advantage over them.

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How to Prepare an Impactful Business Presentation in 8 Steps

/ Steven Hobson / Business English , Confidence , English Presentations , Speaking

business presentation english

For non-native speakers, giving a business presentation in English can be a scary experience, especially if you don’t do it often or feel insecure about speaking English in front of others.

Over the years, I have helped a range of professionals prepare for business presentations, as well as training teachers to prepare their students for presentations when I ran my own language school in Brazil.  

During this time I constructed a very effective approach that can be used if you are preparing for a business presentation but do not have a coach or trainer t o guide you.

In this post, I’m going to share with you this proven approach which consists of 8 steps.

Step 1: The Foundation to Your Business Presentation – Goal, Audience, Past Experience

This first step is essential for a successful business presentation, as it sets the foundation for the rest of your preparation.

Ask yourself what exactly it is that you want to achieve with this presentation. In other words, what is the goal?  What do you want to communicate and how do you want the audience to react or take action?

In addition to this, consider your audience. How many people will you be presenting to? Do you know the audience personally or are they unknown to you? What will they be expecting? Are there any cultural differences you need to be aware of?  For what reasons are they listening to your business presentation?

lastly, if you have given business presentations in English before, reflect on your experience. What were your main challenges and how will you face them this time around? What improvements do you need to make?

I prepared an executive who once told me that he froze up when he was stopped to ask questions during his presentations. He was worried about whether he was going to understand the questions correctly, as well as being capable of giving a good answer under pressure.

For this, we worked on how to ask for clarification if he wanted to make sure he understood the questions, and then we wrote down all the possible questions he could get asked and rehearsed the answers.

This reflection and extra preparation helped the executive to overcome his nerves and anxiety for his next business presentation.

Mini-course: fluency and confidence

Step 2: Prepare the Slides with Minimum Text

One of the biggest mistakes I see people making when putting their slides together is including too much text. Or even worse, their speech is the text which is written on the slides.

If there is too much text, three damaging things can happen.

First, the presenter spends more time reading the slides and doesn’t look at the audience enough. This makes it difficult to establish a connection with your audience.

Secondly, good eye contact can communicate confidence and authority , which helps the audience to agree with or believe your message. Therefore, spending too much time looking at the slides can affect how confident or authoritative you look, which will consequently weaken your message.

Thirdly, it confuses your audience because they don’t know whether to read the slides or listen to you. Both, they cannot do. And potentially they could miss important parts, let alone diminish engagement.

So ask yourself these questions when preparing your slides: Is there too much text?  Could the slides be better summarized? Could there be more images?

The slides should really be as condensed as possible using keywords , as well as being visual.

Step 3: Record Yourself from Beginning to End

Before writing down your speech or doing any rehearsals, record yourself (audio or video) giving the business presentation from beginning to end.

Your presentation will be unpolished and rough, however, this exercise will give you some immediate and useful insights on how you present and what you need to improve.

When playing back the recording try to look out for the following:

  • the parts of the presentation you are finding difficult to explain,
  • if you are being objective enough or taking too long to explain something,
  • how often you use filler word s, such as “erm”, “um”,
  • whether you are using a variety of linking phrases between parts,
  • if there are any grammar mistakes you can recognise.

These insights will help when you start working on your speech, which is the next step.

Furthermore, you can compare this initial recording with future recordings. This will help you perceive your progress, which will build confidence.

Step 4: The Introduction

Next, you’re going to focus on the separate parts of the business presentation, beginning with the introduction.

The introduction normally includes a few sentences to welcome the audience, say a little bit about who you are, communicate the objective of the business presentation, and then give an outline of the main parts of the presentation.

I recommend writing down the script and memorizing the introduction word for word, as it is only going to be a few sentences. You can write it in the ‘notes’ section at the bottom of the PowerPoint slides.

Memorizing the introduction will strengthen the delivery of it, and a strong intro will not only calm down your nerves , it will also give the audience a great first impression of you which helps to build trus t .

Practice out loud a few times then move on to the middle section.

Click here for introduction phrases for a business presentation.

How to Become a Confident English Speaker

Step 5: The Middle

Just like the introduction, write down the script for the middle part. However this time, the reason for writing the middle section is to make your speech more objective and straight to the point, rather than memorizing it word for word.

I suggest working through your business presentation part by part. Write the script for a specific section, practice saying it aloud a few times, then move on to the next part.

An important part of the middle section is how you link all the different parts and slides together. Make sure you use a variety of linking phrases to join everything up and maximize presentation flow.

Here’s an example of a linking phrase: “Ok, I’ve explained how ABC works. Now I’d like to change direction and talk about XYZ.”

Linking phrases help you move through the business presentation smoothly and the audience will be able to follow it easier.

Once you have written your speech, a useful exercise is to run through the presentation only saying the linking phrases. This will help you identify if you are using enough variety and it will cement the structure of the presentation in your mind.

Click here for more linking phrases for the middle section of a business presentation.

Step 6: The End

For the ending, use the same method as the introduction and middle section – writing the speech and then practicing it orally.

Just like the intro, the ending is normally quite short and consists of a summary or conclusion, followed by questions, then thanking the audience.

Click here for expressions to help you with the ending of a business presentation.

Step 7: Practice and Repeat from Top to Bottom

Practice and repetition is the most important aspect of preparing for a business presentation.

By now, you have edited your slides, written your speech, and practiced each section individually a few times. You have also chosen a variety of linking phrases to improve the flow of the presentation.

At this point, you need to practice the presentation aloud as many times as you can from beginning to end. I suggest that you record yourself every now and again, listen to the playback and note down where you think you can improve.

Go back to that very first recording and compare yourself now. Your progress will be visible and this will increase confidence. As you continue to practice, you’ll find that your fluency level will improve.

If possible, practice in front of work colleagues and ask them to give you feedback. This will give you experience presenting in front of people, and there’s always something which we miss while other people notice.

Alternatively, look for a coach or trainer to help you. I offer this service online. Apply for a free evaluation here.

Step 8: Anticipate Audience Questions 

When you are feeling comfortable giving the presentation, the next step is to anticipate questions that your audience might ask. Write down how you would like to answer these questions and practice them orally.

You will either invite the audience to ask questions after you have finished the business presentation or in some cases, the audience will interrupt you during the presentation.

It is more challenging when you get interrupted because it breaks the flow. An effective way to prepare for this is to get somebody to ask you anticipated questions during specific slides as you are practicing the presentation. This will help you get used to being interrupted, answering the question, then resuming the presentation again.

Conclusion

By following this 8 step approach, you will find that your confidence and fluency will improve significantly at giving business presentations.

The crucial part is the practice. You can never practice too much.

Be disciplined enough to define a practice routine and follow through with it. When you feel comfortable, practice a few more times. You’ll see that it is worth the effort after receiving praise for delivering a successful business presentation.

How to Become a Confident English Speaker at Work

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Author: Steven Hobson

Steven is a business English coach, a certified life coach, writer, and entrepreneur. He helps international professionals build confidence and improve fluency speaking English in a business environment.

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Don't start your work presentations by simply saying 'hello.' Here's how to be more engaging in the conference room.

  • I'm a public-speaking expert, and I've trained many executives and senior teams.
  • I tell all of them to stop starting work presentations with a salutation or a "hello."
  • Instead, you should engage your audience by telling a story or asking a question.

Insider Today

I'm sure you've sat through plenty of presentations where the presenter starts with a polite salutation like, "Hello, thank you for having me here today," or, "I am so glad to be here" — often followed by their name and professional résumé . Sometimes, if it's an internal meeting, you get the same salutations followed by an agenda slide with bullet points and the presenter narrating it.

As a public-speaking coach who has worked with many executives and senior teams, I know how to make work presentations more engaging. Here's how you should change your approach.

If you stick to your old ways, you aren't leaving a memorable first impression

Your audience is thinking three things when you walk into that conference room or onto that stage: Who is this person, why should I care, and how are they going to solve my problem?

Let's face it: Most people are more interested in how you will solve their problem than in you and your professional résumé. So let's flip the script a bit. Start with the solution to their problem, briefly talk about yourself for credibility, and then give them a reason to care.

Instead, try to capture their attention

Begin your presentation with a hook or a story — something that grabs their attention right from the start. For instance, your hook might be, "Did you know this?" or "What if that?" It could also be a short story that humanizes your services or products.

Most presentations are predictable; wouldn't it be better for both your time and your audience if you could introduce an element of surprise?

Some might feel it rude not to thank the organizer or greet the audience, so I suggest finding another place in your presentation for this. Here's a good structure:

Intro: "What if you could be a more confident and credible presenter? What if you could engage with your audience so they remember your products or services?"

Credibility: "My name is Meridith, and I've been coaching entrepreneurs and executives on how to speak with spark for over a decade, and I am really excited to be here. I want to thank [insert name] for inviting me to share the afternoon with you."

Solution: "Today, I will give you three ways to make your audience remember your products and services, helping you stand out in a competitive market. Let's get this party started!"

You could also try to form a personal connection

Often, presentations lack a personal touch. Try sharing a relevant personal anecdote or experience that relates to your topic. This not only makes your work presentation more relatable but also helps to establish a deeper connection with your audience.

For example, you could say: "When I was younger, I often hid in the back of the classroom, hoping the teacher wouldn't call on me because I didn't want to sound stupid or have the wrong answer. Later in life, I discovered acting and improv comedy . It was through the practice of these two art forms that I developed my confidence and learned how to engage more courageously with others. Today, I will give you solutions for how you can also better engage your audience with spark."

Try to encourage interaction

At the very least, you should try to engage your audience from the beginning — whether in person or on virtual calls. You can ask a thought-provoking question or propose a challenge that involves them directly. This approach shifts the dynamic to more interactive and engaging sessions.

If you implement any of these suggestions, you can make your presentation memorable and impactful immediately. And you'll most likely get a larger return on your investment of time and energy.

In today's fast-paced world, where attention spans are increasingly shorter than ever, it's crucial to grab and hold your audience's attention from the very beginning. By doing so, you set the stage for a more engaging and productive interaction. So challenge yourself to break free from presentation norms and embrace a style that resonates deeply with your audience and leaves a lasting impression.

business presentation questions

Watch: A public speaking champion reveals 3 keys to nailing your business presentation

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Answering the 3 Frequently Asked Questions in a Business Presentation

June 5, 2017 / Blog, Experts, Presentation Science business presentation, presentation q&a, Public Speaker, public speaking, Tips for Public Speakers

Frequently Asked Questions

Engaging into a question and answer session with the audience is the best way for you to get feedback. Being offered their opinion about how you did and how well the whole talk was makes your presentation more engaging and further clarifies the points you’ve made. Additionally, it gives you insights on how you can make better presentations in the future. You won’t be able to cover every detail during your business presentation, so it’s important to always anticipate questions beforehand. While the three following queries seem simple enough on their own, don’t underestimate your audience’s ability to catch you off guard. It’s a good idea to be prepared for any variation of…

Question #1: What do you do?

The beginning of your deck should include an introduction that contains your contact details and a brief primer of your company. But this kind of information isn’t enough for the audience to know what your business is all about. Your deck should cover every possible aspect of the purpose, service, and benefit that you provide while avoiding delays caused by an overly detailed discussion. If you have to reexplain your introduction towards the end of your business presentation, don’t just assume that the audience didn’t pay enough attention. This type of question could mean that you didn’t spend enough time to explain your purpose or that your audience simply wants to know more details. Especially with the latter, that tells of their curiosity. Aren’t you glad they’re interested?

Question #2: What’s your product?

Business Presentation Question #3: How long does it take?

Question #3: How long does it take?

This type of question asks for specificity. It shows that the audience is thinking, “How soon will I start seeing results?” Provide a financial projection that gives a realistic assessment of your project. Tell them when they can expect to see the results and only promise what you can deliver on time and on a realistic budget. Scott Gerber, entrepreneur and angel investor, learned the hard way from being rejected by investors for his company. One of the most important lessons he learned was that venture capitalists that have seen it all can gauge the feasibility of your plans, so  be realistic  and avoid aiming for a multimillion investment without the experience to back it up. You’ll know how eager your audience is when you hear them ask about your project timetable. Being asked this at the end of your business presentation usually means you’ve generated enough interest that’ll soon translate to sales.  

Final Thoughts

Keep your answers short and concise since you’re nearing the end of your presentation. Concise answers are easier to remember and will help  end your presentation on time . The responses you receive will help gauge your own persuasiveness as a speaker. So don’t be content with a silent response. Get the ball going by answering some of these questions by reiterating your main points. The success of your pitch depends on how well you respond to these FAQs. Don’t let the simplicity of these questions fool you; prepare how to answer them beforehand.  

Gerber, Scott. “6 Steps to the Perfect Pitch.”  Entrepreneur . May 21, 2009. www.entrepreneur.com/article/201826 Greene, Charles. “Presentation Skills: 5 Tips to Improve Your Q&A.” CharlesGreene.com . August 27, 2012. www.charlesgreene.com/2012/08/5-tips-to-improve-your-qa-sessions Pivovarov, Artur. “Presentation Skills. Unit 8: Dealing with Questions.”  SlideShare . May 1, 2012. www.slideshare.net/ArturPivovarov/unit-8-12763217 “Conducting a Q&A Session.” Boundless. n.d. www.boundless.com/communications/textbooks/boundless-communications-textbook/delivering-the-speech-12/managing-q-a-68/conducting-a-q-a-session-268-4213

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Guide for Handling Questions after a Presentation

October 19, 2017 - Dom Barnard

The questions at the end of a presentation can be terrifying for many speakers as they can’t be controlled and are hard to prepare for. However, questions form an important part of the presentation for the whole audience as they allow for clarification and consolidation of learning.

The presenter can enhance the usefulness of the question and answer session by treating it as a formal part of the presentation that requires as much careful planning and control as the delivery of the core material.

Identify possible questions and scope in your preparation

The background work that you undertook whilst planning your presentation is the key to handling questions effectively and understanding what  type of audience  you’ll be faced with. If you have defined a focus for your presentation and have explored this thoroughly in your research and planning, you are more likely to be able to confidently respond to questions.

When planning your presentation, you will need to prepare prompts for questions that are open and straightforward, for example saying “That’s the end of my presentation. I’ll be taking questions for the next 10 minutes”.

You might also want to define topics for discussion before taking questions, by stating the areas you’re willing to field questions in. Your preparation will help you identify topics you are not confident with and want to avoid in the questioning.

Prepare for questions after the presentation

Set some rules for asking questions

At the start of your presentation, make it clear when you would prefer to deal with questions – as you go along or at the end of the presentation.

Some speakers prefer questions to be raised as they arise during the presentation. The advantage of this approach is that any misunderstandings can be dealt with immediately. However, there is also a danger that the question will disrupt or distract the speaker, or that questions are raised that would have been covered later in the presentation.

If you leave questions until the end, plan to leave plenty of time for questions so that the audience doesn’t feel rushed.

Framework for responding to questions

Answering questions under pressure can make you say things you shouldn’t have – the nerves can force you to give an inappropriate response. In your panic you might have misinterpreted the question or given away company information that was sensitive. Use the following framework to help you respond effectively to your audience.

Practice answering AI-generated questions on your speech or presentation with  VirtualSpeech .

1. Listen to the whole question

You don’t have to answer a question immediately. Pause for a few seconds,  actively listen  to all parts of the question and think about the best way to answer.

Frequently questions can change direction at the last moment, particularly if the questioner is thinking on their feet. This can throw you if you have already started to prepare an answer. Remember that questioners will frequently try to make a point whilst asking their question – it’s therefore important to both hear the content of the question and try to decipher the questioner’s intention.

2. Understand the context

If you are worried that you haven’t understood a question, ask them to clarify what they mean. Check for confirmation by paraphrasing the question back to the questioner – “You want me to list the improvements of X?”.

3. Involve the whole audience

It is important to remember that even though you are taking a question from one member of the audience, you are still responsible for the interest of the other audience members. This is particularly important in large groups as the audience will become bored if the presentation descends into a series of one-to-one discussions.

To involve the rest of the audience, make sure the whole audience has heard and understood the question by repeating it or paraphrasing it to the audience.

4. Respond concisely

When you reply to a question, direct your answer to both the questioner and other members of the audience. Try to keep your responses as focused as possible, leaving space for other questions. To avoid going into too much detail, check back with the questioner to see if you have answered their query – “Does that answer your question in enough detail?”.

We’ll cover different ways to respond in a later section.

5. Allow follow-up questions via email

You can also encourage your audience to ask questions after the event has finished by providing your email address. This shows a high level of respect for your audience and implies that the topic still has much further scope for enquiry.

Two good resources for handling questions

  • What’s the art of answering a tricky question?
  • Dodging the Question

Practice Answering Questions

Practice answering questions after your presentation using a 4 step process. Learn More

Options for answering the question

There are five possible choices depending on how well you understand and can answer the question. It’s okay to say that you don’t know the answer to something. This can add to your credibility instead of trying to waffle through an answer you don’t really know.

If you have a good answer for the question from the audience, go ahead and answer it in a short and clear message.

Ask a question back the audience member, such as “Can you clarify what you mean by that”. You can also attack the question if it is not related to the issue, factually inaccurate, personal or based on false assumptions. Be careful with this method.

Ask the question back to the audience or pass it to another panel member if possible. If suitable, another technique is to imply the question has been asked already, with you stating you don’t want to cover old ground.

Tell the audience member you will talk to them after the event. This gives you more time to think of a good answer and there is less pressure to give a perfect answer.

Or mention that that point is coming up in a slide.

This involves answering the question but changing the subject. You can also give a partial answer or give a negative answer, saying that something else will happen instead.

Avoid answering questions that fall outside of the remit of your talk: “I’m afraid that really falls outside of my objectives for today’s presentation. Perhaps we can resume discussion of that particular point later?”

Framework for handling questions after a presentation

Diagram Explained : Once you receive a question, you’ll have a few moments to think about it and reframe it in a way that makes sense to you. This will give you five choices on how to react – you can answer, reflect, deflect, defer or change the scope of the question. Once you’ve answered concisely, you can then follow up to check if the person asking the question is satisfied and then continue with the presentation.

Strategies to use when struggling to answer

Here are some strategies to use when you are struggling to answer the question posed to you. For more information, read this article on  Dodging the Question .

  • Acknowledge the question without answering it – “That’s a good question, let’s consider the impact by looking at…”
  • The question fails to tackle the important issue.
  • The question is based on a false assumption.
  • The question is factually inaccurate.
  • The question is too personal or objectionable.
  • Decline to answer. Refuse to answer on the basis that it is not your area of responsibility or it is sensitive company information – “You will have to ask [name] because I wasn’t involved in that particular project.”
  • Partial answer
  • Start to answer but change the subject
  • Negative answer. You state what won’t happen instead of what will happen
  • Answer a similar question
  • State or imply the question has already been answered – “We’ve already covered that topic”

Things to avoid

When handling questions and answers, you will still need to be as professional as you have been for the main delivery of your presentation. There are some common dangers to avoid.

Answering the question you wished you’d been asked

A common trick played by politicians, this strategy ignores the precise nature of the question and uses a predetermined answer to the broad topic area. If handled poorly, this technique is very obvious to the audience and frustrating to the questioner.

Giving a lengthy response

This is the process whereby you make a lengthy response, including all the information you’d left out in planning the main presentation. Your unplanned response will be unstructured and rambling, so keep things focused and brief. If you find yourself rambling, ask them to talk to you after.

Avoid giving a lengthy response to questions after your speech

Passing the blame

Passing the blame to others comes across as weak and evasive. If an idea from the audience is a good one, acknowledge its value. If it isn’t, make a polite rebuttal and move on.

Defensive answers

Occasionally, questions can really put you on the spot, but it is important to remain calm and in control. An aggressive or defensive reply will be seen as weakness on your part and will spoil the effect of an otherwise successful presentation.

Handling difficult questions

It is important not to start responding to a difficult question before you have thought about the answer. Repeating the question and asking for clarification will help create some space for your thoughts.

Sometimes you will need to think about a question for a moment before responding. You may be able to buy a little bit of thinking time to help focus your response. Useful strategies include searching for an appropriate visual aid to help focus your response or simply pausing for a moment or two to think. For even more time, suggest that you’ll come back to the topic later (but don’t forget to do this).

7 myths when answering tough questions during presentations

Sometimes questions are too difficult to answer. Don’t worry about admitting that you don’t know something or haven’t considered an alternative approach. An enthusiastic “That’s an interesting idea, I’d not thought of that” is much more positive than a mumbled “I don’t know ”. Remember that a presentation is a two-way process and it is important to show that you are learning from your audience as well.

Finally, you can come across a questioner who disagrees strongly with your argument. Although this can feel very awkward, remember that you are still responsible for the whole audience and that you cannot allocate all of your question time to one individual.

If you feel that you have answered the initial question, announce that you will move on and suggest that you might continue discussion after the presentation. If the questioner persists, assert your position calmly by saying “I’m afraid I need to move on”.

You can read more on this topic here:  Responding to questions effectively (PDF)

business presentation questions

Example prompts to try with Microsoft Copilot with Graph-grounded chat

Experience the power of Get started with Microsoft Copilot with Graph-grounded chat  (formerly named Microsoft 365 Chat). See how much time you can save and how much more you can get done. Use Microsoft Copilot to catch up, create content, and ask questions. This article provides several example prompts you can try.

Tip:  When you’re giving Copilot instructions, you can direct it to specific work content by using the forward slash key (“/”), then typing the name of a file, person, or meeting.  If you write a prompt and don’t reference a specific file, person, or meeting, Copilot will determine the best source of data for its response, including all your work content.

Synthesize large amounts of data into simple, consumable responses and catch up on things quickly. Here are some examples:

You've been on vacation now you're back. You need to find out what's going on with Project X. Find the latest about Project X. What's the current timeline? When are deliverables due?

You've just joined a new team and you're trying to ramp up on recent activities. Summarize team communications over the last 30 days. What are the team's priorities? 

There's been a recent change in how your team is tracking work. Find information about the new way our team is tracking work. Include email communications and points of contact for questions.

Create content

Brainstorm ideas and draft new content based on information at work. Here are some examples:

You want to draft a one-page description of a new project (let's call it Project Foo) that's just about to kick off at work. Using information in file1, file2, and file3, write a one-page description of Project Foo. Write it so non-technical people can understand what the project is about and when it's scheduled to be completed.

You're preparing an email to invite customers to attend an upcoming conference and visit your company's booth. Using information in Document Z, write a fun, catchy email inviting our customers to come see us at our booth during next month's conference.

You want to plan a morale event for your team. List 3-5 ideas for group activities in the Seattle area that would be suitable for my team. Include approximate cost and time estimates. 

Ask questions

Find information and get answers quickly, even if you can't remember where the information you need is or how it was shared. Here are some examples:

You need to know what's left in the budget for supplies. How much did we spend on supplies for Project Foo?  How much budget do we have left for Project Foo?

Your team received customer feedback. You want to identify the top things your team should address. Review the feedback we received from customers via email last week. What are the top three issues we should address?

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Xbox Will Reveal More 'About Our Vision for the Future' in Business Update Next Week

"we're listening and we hear you.".

Alex Stedman Avatar

With questions swirling about the future of Xbox, platform exclusivity, and more, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer said on Monday that more will be revealed in a "business update event" to be held sometime next week.

"We're listening and we hear you," Spencer wrote on his X/Twitter account. "We've been planning a business update event for next week, where we look forward to sharing more details with you about our vision for the future of Xbox. Stay tuned."

We're listening and we hear you. We've been planning a business update event for next week, where we look forward to sharing more details with you about our vision for the future of Xbox. Stay tuned. — Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) February 5, 2024

Spencer is no doubt responding to much of the conversation that took place over the weekend after The Verge reported that the upcoming Indiana Jones and the Great Circle is apparently being considered for a PlayStation 5 release . Per the report, the Indy game would have a brief period of exclusivity on Xbox and PC when it launches in December 2024, then debut on PS5 shortly after.

XboxERA , meanwhile, reported over the weekend that Starfield could be headed to PS5 as well after the Shattered Space expansion debuts later this year. These developments follow previous reports that games like Hi-Fi Rush and Sea of Thieves could be headed to other platforms too .

Taken together, all of these rumors have sent the Xbox community into a tizzy , wondering about the future of the company if it decides to make its exclusives multi-platform. Xbox, after all, has placed its bets on an "ecosystem" of software, rather than the approaches of PlayStation and Nintendo that put more weight on first-party exclusives.

Microsoft has yet to comment on the various reports, but we're sure much more will be revealed at next week's event. An exact date was not announced.

Alex Stedman is a Senior News Editor with IGN, overseeing entertainment reporting. When she's not writing or editing, you can find her reading fantasy novels or playing Dungeons & Dragons.

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  25. Example prompts to try with Microsoft Copilot with Graph-grounded chat

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