Robert Frost, engineer/instructor at NASA Here’s a little flowchart for how to handle questions during a presentation.
You’re asking for a ‘crafty way to dodge a question’, but that really is one of the stupidest things a person can do. Audiences can see right through it and will lose confidence in your qualification to be speaking to them and they will lose respect for you. DON’T DO IT.
As the presenter, you are in control of the presentation and responsible for ensuring the presentation gets completed as planned and that the audience gets what they needed. If the question is really getting outside of the objectives of the presentation, you should defer the question by saying you’ll talk to the individual after the presentation so as to not take up the time of the rest of the audience, because you know they don’t need that answer.
I’ve given many presentations and some have been more successful than others. Even when it’s the same material. And very similar audiences. Something that I’ve learned: it’s easy to overlook one of the most crucial elements of giving presentations– make sure that your audience can easily focus on you and your slides.
Don’t be in competition with your powerpoint for attention. When giving a presentation, audience engagement is critical. When you are talking, you want the attention on your message and not on the mechanics of the presentation.
10 things to keep in mind to give a good (PowerPoint) presentation:
1. Arrive early
Don’t even think about arriving late or cutting it close. Audiences will lose patience quickly if you waste valuable time at the beginning of the presentation fiddling around. If you are delivering the presentation in a new environment for your audience, arrive even earlier. Get comfortable and familiar with the space. It will help minimize distractions if you can easily answer commonly asked questions, like where the bathrooms and power outlets are.