Questions are a sign people are interested and provide an opportunity for interaction that makes your presentation livelier.
I know many people who have asked this question…
Presenters often tell me they have a hard time getting responses when they invite questions.
You can turn that around with just a few simple techniques that will help you answer that question we all are seeking to answer.
No more asking….
1. Make people feel safe to ask a question
An Adult learners’ greatest fear is looking foolish in front of their peers.
That’s why if you ask…
“Do you have any questions?”
Chances are you’ll get nothing but dead silence.
No one wants to be the first to raise a hand for fear of looking as if he or she is the sole individual in the room who doesn’t understand what’s going on.
If instead you say…
“What questions do you have about [the topic you’ve just covered]?”
…you’ve increased the likelihood of a response.
You’ve suggested that you fully expect there will be questions, and therefore no one should be embarrassed to ask one.
2. Wait seven seconds to get a response
The real key to getting questions is taking enough time to wait for them.
Typically, presenters invite questions, wait a beat or so, say…
“Then let’s continue,…”
…and go immediately to the next topic.
When I point this out after an observation, the usual response is,
“Nobody spoke up, and I felt so awkward and weird standing there silently while they stared at me, so I figured I should just move on.”
But you have to wait.
You have to wait a full seven seconds.
Though that’s not a lot of time, it can feel like an eternity.
Do it anyway.
The average human being needs one or two seconds to process a question…
…another three or four to come up with a response…
…and one to two more to get the courage up to ask the question publicly.
And though you may find the wait uncomfortable…
I’ll remind you that this presentation is not about you; it’s about your audience.
You may experience discomfort while you’re waiting…
…but they won’t.
You may feel they’re looking at you, but in fact, they’re not paying any attention to you.
They’re thinking about what you just asked.
While you’re waiting, their brains are busy.
And while you’re waiting for questions…
Swivel your head slowly from one side of the room to the other, gazing across the entire audience, so everyone knows you’re just waiting for a question.
You will be more comfortable and feel more confident, and they’ll be more engaged if you use the techniques I have described in a previous blog.
The more calm and confident you look, the more questions you’re apt to get.
The first question often arrives just before the seventh second.
If you allow less time, you may not get any questions at all.