How many presentations have sat through where the presenter finished, asked for questions, and was greeted with stunned silence? Here’s a hint: that’s not good. So take a few steps to ensure it doesn’t happen to you.
In most cases, the stunned silence gives way to questions and sometimes even snowballs into a cavalcade of Arnold Horshack’s squirming to chime in. But you can’t count on that. Mark Goulston posted his advice for connecting with speakers at Never Eat Alone.
“Contact that speaker ahead of time, tell them you’re attending the meeting, looking forward to hearing him/her speak, and would be very happy to ask the question that they would like to you to ask to help the ensuing Q & A and discussion go in a constructive direction.”
Goulston’s speaking to those in the audience hoping to connect with the speaker, but the advice works both ways. If you’re up there talking, arrange in advance for someone to ask a key question. You can use this strategy to get the Q&A rolling, but you can also use it to emphasize particular points about your presentation.
Plant a mole in your next audience and say goodbye to stunned silence forever.