Stanford Business Insights – How to Handle Tough Questions During A Presentation

Anyone with a novel idea, from an entrepreneur to a product marketer, should know how to handle a suspicious audience.

By nature, human beings are risk averse. People will go to great lengths to avoid potential negative outcomes — much greater lengths than they will go to attain potential positive ones. This orientation toward the status quo often compels us to be suspicious of new things. Anyone in the business of presenting novel ideas, from entrepreneurs to product marketers, must be prepared for these objections and questions. Often, how we respond to these doubts dictates how our ideas will be received.

So how do you prepare?

It’s more than thinking about potential objections and questions beforehand (although that certainly helps). There are specific techniques you can use to deftly respond to these challenging situations without sounding defensive, evasive, or dismissive. The authors offer a few key tips for how to handle objections, challenging questions, and skepticism with aplomb.


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PHOTO: Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett