Get the most out of your Q&A by doing the following:

Planning when you’ll take questions: Establish early on if you want to field questions throughout your talk or save them until the end. If you need to build a thorough case, ask people at the very beginning to hold questions until the end. But if you’re making a series of points, you can take questions after each one, while they’re fresh in people’s minds.

Anticipating questions: You can spend hours preparing a presentation and deliver it beautifully—and then undo all your hard work and undermine your credibility by fumbling a response to an unexpected question. Think through any questions the audience might raise, from the mundane to the hostile. Prepare answers ahead of time so you won’t be thrown off your game when all eyes are on you. Rehearse those answers, but still be mentally prepared for curveballs. Some questioners may feel a need to publicly challenge your idea. When that happens, it’s important to keep your composure. Knowing your material inside and out will help immensely.

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