Engage With Your Audience By Asking Thought Provoking Questions

Asking questions is an essential part of any presentation.  Good questions keep the audience engaged, stimulate them intellectually, and create a more exciting atmosphere. Questions can also be beneficial for the presenter because they show what information the audience has retained and it helps them clarify any confusion. That said, asking questions is an art.  It can be difficult to get the audience to participate and it can be just as tricky to decide which questions to ask.  The following guidelines will help you better understand the role of audience feedback and how asking questions can contribute to a more open dialogue between the audience and the presenter.

What Is A Good Question?

A good question opens discussion and is the product of engaged, active listening.  It is thought provoking and encourages the audience to explore a particular topic or issue.   A good question also demonstrates what the audience has learned from the presentation and motivates them to look beyond the data that has been presented in order to explore a broader experience.

How Do You Construct A Good Question?

  • Thinking about broader issues is a great way to construct a thought provoking question that will stimulate discussion. What is the larger public issue that the presentation addresses? How does your presentation directly relate to your audience?
  • Draw upon your own experiences that might be of interest to your audience. Use these experiences and knowledge as a foundation for creating good questions.

What Is The Purpose Of Asking Questions?

For most of us, we ask questions when we don’t understand something.  This is also true in presentations.  Questions are asked to help the comprehension of the entire audience.  Questions can also be asked when no answer is expected.  These questions might be advice from the speaker, a suggestion about a topic, or a problem identified to the audience.  Questions are used to deepen meaning and understanding and to exchange ideas among audience members.

How Do You Get Your Audience To Participate?

Most of us would agree that when we are in the audience we are not always the first ones ready to answer the questions.  You can encourage audience participation by starting with easier questions and moving to more challenging ones.  Also, try not to talk for too long without asking a question.  You don’t want your audience to settle into “passive mode.â€Â  Finally, warm up your audience by letting them get to know you a little before asking them questions.

A good speaker does not want their audience to just sit back and listen during the entire presentation.  Rather, they want to engage their audience and make them part of the discussion.  Asking thought provoking questions will open the discussion with your audience and make them an active part of your presentation.