Don't say these phrases or similar ones in a response:
- "As I mentioned earlier" or "As I said in my presentation" or "What you need to understand is"
- "Great question!" or "Excellent question!"
These and phrases like them insult the questioner. They are tantamount to saying that the questioner wouldn't be asking if he or she had been paying attention, that he or she should know the answer already, or that the question itself is off-base or ignorant. Should a questioner ask something that's already been discussed, simply respond. And under no circumstances should your response slight the intellect of the questioner.
Such expressions waste response time but they also suggest that some questions—those that don't get a congratulatory phrase—are not very good at all, are somehow inferior. Ranking questions in this way may make the Q&A session more problematic. If you praise each question equally, you appear insincere or indiscriminate. If you differentially praise questions, you set up a competition (good – better – best) that may silence some would-be questioners—nobody wants to ask a less-than-fantastic question. Such a silencing typically leads to the suppression of simple questions whose answers nevertheless can clarify clouded issues.
Promoting the competitive spirits in the audience may induce its members to play an "I can ask a better and more challenging and insightful question than that" game, a reaction that can prove difficult. While there's no reason to dread a challenging question, at times the intent of one is to stump the responder. And when that's the intention, the question may become almost tangential, threatening to pull the responder off message.
All good reasons to accept questions as they come—without ranking them!