How to Keep Questions from Ruining Your Speech

Conducting a 3-hour Storytelling workshop to a small group in Hong Kong a few years ago.

Conducting a 3-hour Storytelling workshop to a small group in Hong Kong a few years ago.

Have you ever been advised to ask questions in your speeches?

It’s sound advice, because questions can benefit you and your audience in many ways. However, I’ve seen many speakers destroy their speeches because of how they asked their questions.

 

Are You Really Interested?

I’ve seen speakers ask questions only to have their audience members feel like the speaker isn’t really interested in their answers. They realize the speaker doesn’t intend to have a true dialogue and is simply asking questions because someone told him or her to do so.

 

Are you watching your watchers?

As a speaker, it’s critical to have your audience feel that you’re watching and listening to them while they’re watching and listening to you. That’s the exchange of energy. That’s the real connection.

In the following coaching video, Isaak picks up some advice that can help him start off his speech with a connection rather than a rejection. See for yourself.

Note: Thanks to Lewis Roth for shooting this video.

 

3 Important Questions to Ask About Your Questions

-Are you splitting longer questions into shorter ones?

-Are you looking at different parts of the audience as you deliver each question?

-Are you waiting long enough for your audience to answer your question in their own minds?

 

Although Isaak’s questions were at the beginning of his speech, this lesson applies to wherever you decide to ask your questions. Shorter, punchier, clearer questions beat longer, junky, ambiguous ones all the time. Don’t you agree?

 

Your Turn

What are some short questions you ask during your speech?

How do you know how long to wait before you continue speaking?

 

 

Craig Valentine

As a motivational speaker I've been fortunate to have spoken in over 20 countries, and back in 1999 Toastmasters International awarded me the World Champion of Public Speaking.

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