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Sometimes, a listener will ask a presenter a long, jumbled flood of questions, opinions, and concerns. The longer their question, the more stressful the moment can become for everybody in the room. 

As speakers, it is very tempting to respond with an attitude when we face a long-winded questioner. I’ve seen speakers handle a moment like this poorly by acting frustrated and impatient with the questioner.

Ultimately, the speaker will get the blame for losing his or her composure regardless of how poorly a question was asked. Leaders and speakers alike are held to a higher standard than followers and listeners. We have to take the high road and rise above it.

When facing a moment like this, here’s it the key tip. Answer the flood of questions at a higher, big-picture level and speak to the heart of the issue in a concise way. You can’t really address all 10 or more individual issues the person brought up one at a time. That won’t work. You have to approach it from a big-picture point of view.

See the video for concrete examples of what this sounds in the moment.