Getting Over Yourself

April 3, 2010

Myth #17 Starting with a question is the best way to engage their minds

Filed under: Myths — Barbara Rocha @ 3:41 pm
Tags: , ,

Starting with questions is one way to start a presentation, but not always the best way.

Rather than engaging them, questions might actually cause you to lose the audience right at the beginning.

Possible pitfalls: Your question is rhetorical, and they answer.  Or you want a response, but don’t get one. They may say,”yes” when you were expecting “no,” or vice versa. These can be caused by your tone of voice, your attitude, and/or your body language. Or, it could be not knowing enough about your audience.

You can correct these, but the immediate remedy is to be able to transition to your point if you don’t get the response you want.

In any case, do be sure to acknowledge whatever response you get.

The more treacherous pitfall with questions is asking questions just for the sake of asking them, that is, as a technique or device.  Here you risk annoying the audience by making them feel manipulated.

Here are two examples of this type of question: “Do you want to make more money?” and, “Is there anyone here who doesn’t feel stressed every day?”

With the first, people not motivated by money know you expect all hands raised. So, if those people raise them, they’re annoyed at being manipulated. And, if they don’t, they’re annoyed you’ve make them feel like a spoilsport.

With the second, those who don’t feel stressed know you don’t want them to raise their hands thus feeling they’re insulting you if they do and frustrated if they don’t.

If you ask a question to open your presentation, it’s best to want to know the answer. Otherwise, you risk insulting them and you may have a tough time getting them back.

Every part of your presentation needs to be based on mutual interest rather than on gimmicks.


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