Questions that Create Presentation Magic

This month we shared how Lee Cronin solved four presentation challenges and created presentation magic through the use of questions.

We thought it might be helpful to provide you with a few go-to questions that can easily create that same magic in your presentations. Whether your information is complex, the time to share it is short, or your audiences are at risk of getting lost along the way, the following questions will help you get the job done:

Open with Questions that Engage from the Start

It’s helpful to remember that although your audience is with you physically at the beginning of a presentation, they may not be there mentally.  A question is a perfect way to bring them into the conversation.

How many of you _________
     (If you want to poll your audience)
What would you think if I told you that____________?
     (If you want them to consider a new idea)
[A Startling Statistic] __________.  Why should this matter to us?
     (To prepare them for your proposal or ideas)
 When you think of ____________, what comes to mind?
     (To assess where your audience is relevant to your topic)

Use Leading Questions that Guide the Audience Through Your Ideas

Questions can serve as your story’s guideposts, getting your audience ready for, and excited about, what is coming next. The key strategy here is to use leading questions as transitions to your next main point or next slide. Here are some suggestions you can tweak to fit your situation:

You may be wondering, “Why is this relevant to me/us?”
Now what?
How do we accomplish that?
How much is this going to cost us?
Is this really doable/feasible?
What are our next steps?

Close with Questions that Leave Audiences Wanting More

Successful presentations set the stage for a second meeting, another presentation, or some type of action.  Consider these types of questions that can give the presentation closure while creating a need for action. The key take away is that you frame the close of your presentation with a question and then lead your audience to that next step:

Where should we go from here?
You’re probably wondering, “What should we be doing next?”
Why should we say, “Let’s get started now.”?
I imagine you are thinking, “What’s next?”

By using thoughtful opening, leading and closing questions, you can create your own presentation magic during any presentation, whether planned or impromptu, business or personal.

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