Most of the time, when it comes to ending a presentation or conference call, it’s always the same – “We’d now like to turn the floor over for questions.” Then this dreaded thing happens -- silence comes over the crowd and no one seems to have any questions. Everyone knows that the call for questions can be the quietest part of your presentation, when it should be the most collaborative moment you have. When else will you have all these great minds in a room together to pick each other’s brains and share ideas?
In my personal experience, the missing questions are usually related to it being a lot of information thrown at your audience at once, without any real time to digest things. It’s not until later; when you’re reviewing your notes that you’ll realize you have an entire list of questions.
As the presenter there are a few things you can do to help open up the possibility of getting some great questions.
- Pass out an agenda to the participant prior to the conference. This gives them time to review the information ahead of time and they might even show up with some questions.
- For long presentations, take periodic breaks for questions. The longer you give information, the more likely questions are to be forgotten. Your audience will be able to feel like they are staying “on topic” which will encourage questions.
- Give multiple ways that participants can ask questions. Don’t give them the audio only option, also provide a chat box, or email to submit their questions. A lot of people do have stage fright that that could be preventing them from asking their question.
Three little things can change the outcome of your next conference and make it the meeting of collaborative genius you had been hoping for. What are you doing to encourage questions after your conferences?