How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Deliberately spend time in preparing for questions you might be asked, especially if your subject is controversial or your audience is likely to be given the opportunity to ask questions or they may particularly critical.
Walk through your talk and brainstorm a list of possible questions that could be asked about each point, including any research or references you might quote.
Prioritize the list of questions, putting the most likely at the top. Then identify answers to each of these.
Decide how to present your answers. This can be verbally, using props, written (eg. on a flipchart) or presented with slides.
Practice your answers at the same time as practicing the main presentation.
A manager presenting a new manufacturing process to the workforce takes each step in the process and considers how it might be challenged. In doing so, she identifies some further improvements and develops clear rationale for all changes.
Some contexts, for example academic conferences, are particularly prone to challenge. The greatest of presentations can be severely damaged if you are unable to adequately answer questions from the audience that appear reasonable.
Considering challenges is also a good way of testing your presentation, and you may choose to change the body of what you will say, based on the questions you identify.
Questions may be allowed throughout, which disrupts the flow, or may be kept until the end, which effectively ends your presentation and sends people away with questions. It is not an easy choice, though wisdom says it is better to allow questions throughout.
A crafty approach that is sometimes used is to seed the presentation with a few points where there are clearly unanswered questions. These obvious points will likely come up early and may let you avoid more difficult challenges.