Take Questions In the First 15 minutes
post # 351 — April 11, 2007 — a Careers, Client Relations post
As a follow up to yesterday’s posting on using an overhead projector, here’s another philosophy of mine on giving presentations (in small or large groups, standing up or sitting down.)
No matter how much you want to convey, you should always give your audience the chance to react and ask questions as soon as you have covered your first main point – no later than 15 minutes into your talk.
You should ask something like “Does that fit your world?” “Do you all agree with that?” “Is that what you are doing now?”
By asking for immediate response, you can ensure that you are both relevant and that you are bringing your audience along in your chain of reasoning. If you wait until you have given 4 or 5 steps in your reasoning, you could suddenly get a question about your first point and have to retrace all your steps – you’ll be scrambling to catch up.
And if you get a question that’s about something other than where you are going, either use it to bring you back to your theme, or ask permission to come back to it later.
Some speakers to do not follow the 15-minute rule, but I think that’s what makes them “speakers” rather than EDUCATORS. If you want the focus to be on you – give a speech. If you want to serve your audience – take questions – frequently and early.