Questions about questions – part 2
In the last post, I started a conversation about questions. If you missed it, go here to find out why it’s critical that you allow time and space for questions in your presentation (even though you might wish that you didn’t need to), and what to do when someone asks a question that is pre-emptive. That is, the answer is coming up later in the presentation.
Now, let’s get to two more question scenarios.
2. Your presentation will just fit in the amount of time allotted, so you can’t afford to allow for questions along the way.
If you can’t allow for questions along the way, my first reaction is to get you to take out some content from the presentation. And… I know that is not always realistic. So, you need to be clear and transparent. It will help your audience to play along with you if they know where you’re headed. Share with them the purpose of the presentation, and what they can expect. Let them know that you aren’t able to take questions because the content needs to be delivered, and taking questions risks losing time.
Extra handy tip: Because I’m usually concerned that I will lose those who have questions swirling in their heads, I have a trick that usually works. I ask folks to be sure to have a paper and pen nearby. As questions come to their mind, be sure to have your audience members capture them on paper. As a presenter, I should have done enough preparation to know what they’ll ask – and as such, my presentation will address their questions without having to ask them.
If they aren’t answered during the presentation, then they ought to be collected in order to learn what’s on the minds of your audience. To really shine as a Presenter, you’ll then follow up with your audience with answers to the questions just as soon as you can (maybe by email). Just a reminder…………the very best solution for this issue is to cut back on your content first!!
3. You invite questions (either as the presentation goes on, or during the Q&A), and no one asks a single question!!
To deal with this one, I have two different approaches.
- give them a question that you think they ought to have asked, and get them to talk about it with a partner. This makes the discussions more intimate, and then they feel more “safe”. Once they have discussed for several minutes, get some thoughts from the audience by asking…. “what came out of your discussions?”
- ask a question of the group – that may sound something like this: “I’ve been asking some of you about this topic, and the question I’ve been hearing over and over again is….. Is this a concern for you also?”
Questions are the way that your audience lets you know what they are thinking. They are an invitation to you to give them what they want. Don’t shy away from questions.