First impressions "How should i open my presentation?" is a question we get asked often.…
You have given a good presentation. You close and call for questions. Maybe you say something like “that concludes my talk. I expect there are a number of questions. Who is first?” But no-one asks a question. Maybe they look away, or they just look at you. What should you do?
Your first aim is to release the log-jam, then maybe you’ll get some questions. You have two options. First, if you think there may be no questions forthcoming, as part of your planning, have a question already planted in the audience with one of your supporters. Second, ask yourself a question that you believe they might ask.
As soon as you realise the audience will not ask a first question, you say “A question that I’m often asked is….” And you go on to give them the question and then give them the answer.
Having done that you can next ask, “do I have another question?” If there is no response, you could ask yourself a final question, and if there’s still no response after that, you should consider that there will be no questions forthcoming.
Perhaps your presentation was so complete that there is nothing left to ask. Perhaps you didn’t generate enough interest in the topic. Perhaps it’s late in the day and they want to get away home or back to the office.
Our suggestion, as you think about your talk afterwards, is to consider what you might have done differently in the presentation to generate more interest. Pose more questions in the talk, perhaps. Or deliberately leave something out? Or maybe being more controversial.
This will happen to most speakers at some time, for different reasons; it may not be about you as a speaker. But it shouldn’t be happening every time you speak. Then you would need to consider if you’re being interesting enough. If you would like some ideas on how to do it differently, get some feedback from someone who’s views you trust. And we’ll be happy to help!