“Executive Presence” is a term we hear a lot at 2Connect. After all, how you show up in front of a group, whether presenting formally or providing updates in meetings, has a huge impact on how others perceive you. How would you rate your executive presence?
Over the years of working with executives and individuals looking to improve their executive presence, we have observed that managing Q&A is often the Achilles heel in someone’s career. Some folks freeze up during Q&A, others get defensive, some just seem to ramble.
To help, here are three steps to gracefully and effectively answer any questions that come your way and put your executive presence on full display.
1. Embrace the power of paraphrase:
When responding, consider repeating or paraphrasing the question. This does a few things:
- Confirms that you heard the question correctly
- If it is a challenging question, it allows you to take some of the charge out of the delivery and respond to the true essence of the question
- Buys you some time to formulate your answer
2. Provide an Answer-First response:
Begin with a short and direct response. Your audience will appreciate it.
3. Provide clear and structured support (if needed):
If you feel your audience needs additional information, provide structure and keep it concise. They will ask if they need more information. Remember, less is more.
Here's an example:
We are losing market share – how is your team going to reverse that trend?
I appreciate the question on what the team plans to do to recapture market share. In short, we are dividing territories in a more efficient manner. This will help us in two critical areas:
- It will allow us to build deeper relationships with our customers, which has been a challenge with our current structure.
- It will also facilitate more seamless support for our customers. Our uneven customer service has contributed to some of that market share loss.
Following the above strategies during Q&A will help enhance your credibility, boost your executive presence, and help ensure your intended messages are communicated.