Please Don’t Hold Your Questions

January 23, 2012 in Author, Dale Ludwig, Delivering Your Presentation, Delivery, FAQs, Handling Questions, Managing the Orderly Conversation, Myths Debunked

I like to ask people to hold their questions until the end of my presentation. I don’t like being interrupted, and waiting until I’m finished to answer questions just feels more efficient. What do you think?”

You should probably get used to interruptions and give up delaying them.

There are really only two reasons to delay questions until the end:

  1. When you’re running out of time, and you absolutely have to finish the presentation regardless of whether you answer everyone’s question, or
  2. When there’s a message-related reason to delay. A message-related reason occurs when your audience will be much better able to ask questions after they’ve heard a certain amount of information.

If either of these situations occur, feel free to delay questions. Just be sure to tell your audience why you’re doing so.

These situations are relatively rare, though. So most of the time, you’ll need to accept the interruption. Think of it as an indication that your audience is interested in what you’re saying. By asking their questions, they’re helping you get your message across.

Also keep in mind that what feels efficient to you may not feel efficient to your listeners. What they might be feeling is confusion or frustration because they’ve been asked to hold their questions.

by Dale Ludwig, President and Trainer at Turpin Communication

Common Presentation Challenges

October 28, 2010 in Delivery, Greg Owen-Boger, Myths Debunked, Nervousness, Preparation

Greg Owen-Boger, Vice President of Turpin Communication

In a LinkedIn discussion recently a question came up about the most common challenges facing business presenters.

Many people claimed nervousness, lack of knowledge, unexpected questions, PowerPoint, sentence structure (?) and so on. These are challenges people face, for sure, but these simplistic responses fail to get to the heart of why presenting is so challenging for so many people.

Here’s how I responded:

As a presentation skills trainer/coach, I think one of the most common challenges people face is that they prepare for a speech instead of a presentation. Speeches are scripted, rehearsed and performed. Presentations (which is what most of us deliver day-to-day) need to, of course, be organized well, but they need to be delivered in a flexible, spontaneous, conversational way.

So the challenge I see most is that people know how to prepare for a speech, but they don’t know how to prepare for a presentation. This leads to anxiety, nervousness, analysis paralysis and boring, stiff, unengaging and unsuccessful presentations.

In our work, we help presenters make adjustments to how they think about the process and this makes all the difference.

Faithful readers of this blog know that we consider presentations to be Orderly Conversations. Here are some related articles:

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by Greg Owen-Boger, VP and Trainer at Turpin Communication