I just went through a course on effective presentation skills and it was mentioned that Q&A is actually the most important part of the presentation – in fact so important it is more important than the presentation itself. After all, Q&A is where it is much harder to prepare and you are more vulnerable. I remember the trainer saying, some people are just born able to think on their feet and others will have to develop the ability to do so over their life.
It actually got me thinking about it. What set people apart in this sense? How was Tharman able to answer Stephen Sackur so quickly about the Trampoline that the host was a little surprised and stumped for a bit? It’s actually through preparation. It isn’t quite ‘born’, as we would think of. The truth is all of life is preparation. The way you spend every moment in your life, whether you have chosen it or not, is preparation for all of the moments ahead. And having the habit of thinking, having thought through different things, having pondered over issues far and wide or about things in the periphery of the related topic, is part of all the preparation that brought you to the point of being able to ‘think on your feet’. It might feel like you had a stroke of genius at the moment or people might have thought so but it’s not genius. It’s hard work, dedication and devotion to the topic area or issue implicated.
So prepare well for all the times ahead you have. And think; it sure takes practice but you get better.