Have you ever had a presentation where at the end, you ask for questions and no one has any? What did you do? Did you say something like, “A question I often get is __________.” Be careful of doing so. The audience thinks you are done, they get ready to go and bang, you hold them there like hostages!
Why aren’t they asking any questions? Maybe you don’t seem like you really want them. Although at times questions can be difficult, I love them because if they’re asking questions, they’re interested!
Here are three things to consider if you want to encourage participation and questions, every time you speak.
- Watch your body language when you ask for questions. Be careful of closed posture, with arms crossed in front of your body. Keep posture open. Look at the audience in a warm, inviting way.
- How are you asking? Avoid the standard, “do you have any questions? Use open-ended question such as “what questions do you have?”
- Are you pausing afterward, giving the audience enough time to think about a question that they might like to ask? I suggest pausing and waiting for at least 10 seconds. It will seem like an eternity to you but if you wait that long, someone usually comes up with a question.
If you follow these three guidelines and still have no one ask a question, thank the audience for coming and then end your talk. Let them know that you will be available, after the presentation, to answer any questions.
This is one more tool, to add to your toolkit, to be a more inspirational communicator and leader!