Tips to Handle Q & A with Ease

Congratulations, you made it through the interview!  Now it is time for the Question and Answer (Q & A) portion.
Don’t fool yourself, you still need to prepare for and practice this portion of the interview.  But, how can you prepare when you don’t know what will be asked?  Simple, address these areas and you’ll be ready. 
1. Think about what you don’t want them to ask.

2. Review what you have been asked in previous interviews.
3. Understand the challenges facing their project and how you can mitigate them.
4. Review the information you have on the project.  Is the budget adequate?  How do you feel about the schedule? Do you have questions about systems or materials?
If you discuss these areas within your team, you will prepare yourself for the majority of questions that will be asked. 
Once you have a handle on the information that will likely be discussed, below are some tips to increase your confidence in your answers. 
First, remember, your purpose during Q&A is the same as it was during the presentation:  
Here’s how to approach every question.
1.  Listen.  Listen fully to the question. Don’t interrupt or start to answer the question because you THINK you know what is going to be asked.  Relax and listen to the entire question to understand what the client is looking for.
2.  Explore.  Q&A is the time when you can ask questions back!  If you don’t understand what the client is looking for or the question seems vague, ask for more clarification.  Explore what the client is really after, so you can properly answer.
3. Respond.  Only after you have listened and fully understood the question, then you give your response.  Keep your answer concise and keep reinforcing your team’s strengths and differentiators. 

This is part 1 of a 3 part series on Q & A.   
The next article will share a formula to help us handle difficult questions.