You’re standing there sweating in front of your audience. You’ve just given what you thought was a good presentation, but your audience is getting sleepy. You take a hard swallow and ask “Are there any questions?” Your audience answers with silence. How do you get those great audience questions you want?

It’s easy! By keeping just three things in mind, you can start getting great audience questions.

Warm them up

Studies show that your audience’s attention drops to zero after ten minutes. On top of that, they settle into a passive “TV watching” mode after only five minutes. How can you keep them stimulated until you hold your Q&A? Let’s break it down to a schedule:

 

0 – 1 minute

Introduce yourself and your topic. Let them settle in. NEVER start off with questions here, as your audience won’t know what to ask.

 

1 – 4 minutes

Lay the groundwork of your basic idea, and look here for 4 fun ways to do that.

 

4 – 6 minutes

This is the critical point for keeping your audience engaged. You need to give them a soft break while bringing their engagement back. At the same time, you need to get them used to the idea of asking questions. There are three good ways to do these three things:

  • Put a rhetorical question to your audience without the pressure to actually answer. Make sure you give them time to think about it.
  • Ask everyone to raise their hand. Now ask them to lower their hand depending on if they meet certain conditions. This ensures everyone is engaged.
  • Incorporate an interactive poll. We personally recommend Sendsteps. Not only is it simple for your audience to use, it’s absolutely free.

 

6 – 9 minutes

Expand on your basic idea by building on the question you’ve just asked your audience. As you design this section, be sure to ask the 5 questions for effective presentation design.

 

9 – 10 minutes

Now that you’re close to losing your audience’s attention, it’s time to hold your Q&A! This is the tricky part, so how do you get those great audience questions you want?

 

Ask them to share questions among themselves

As an audience member, it can be nerve-racking to ask your questions alone. You think you might ask something obvious, and don’t want to look like a fool in front of everyone. On top of that, you need time to think of an effective answer.

As a presenter, you need to put audience members at ease. This can be as simple as saying something like “Turn to the person next to you and ask them what you’d still like to know.” Then, once they’ve had time to talk, ask them what they asked each other! This technique, of making people discuss their questions in pairs first, will ease them into your Q&A. It also allows you to relax before responding.

Once the questions begin, you need to keep them coming. How do you encourage your audience to continue with the questions?

 

Show appreciation for every question

Be equally enthusiastic about every question. If you praise certain questions and criticise others, your audience will be unwilling to ask theirs. On top of that, take the time to write out the key ideas their questions connect with. This shows that you care about what they’re asking, and will make them want to ask more.

We hope these help you get some great audience questions from your next presentation. Of course, getting great audience questions starts with an engaging PowerPoint. Speak to one of our professional presentation designers to make your next presentation amazing.

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