When you ask an audience if they have questions you are handing control of the conversation to them. This is a great way to engage your audience so they can contribute and feel heard.
Problems occur when they don’t want the control – when they don’t want to ask questions. This leaves you standing flat-footed and an energy void opens.
To get around this, my friend and author of the book Speakership, Matt Church suggests asking people if they have any ‘comments, thoughts, questions or points of clarification’. Then, give them a chance to discuss any questions they have in small groups first so they can rehearse their questions before sharing them with the wider group.
This technique is genius! It prevents poorly worded questions as the audience has a chance to rehearse them (this stops people rambling); it gives a chance for simple questions to be answered by other audience members (saving everyone’s time); and it gives confidence to the person asking the question that someone else has the same question too (meaning the right questions are asked).
The second level of genius in this technique is that it makes you look awesome. The Q&A flows well, there are no energy voids and the session progresses cleanly.
It’s a win for everyone!
As always, I’d love your thoughts on this here.