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Audience response tip 2 is all about letting your audience know in advance, how you want them to respond when you ask them a question. In giving presentations, speakers often throw out questions to their audience, and then forget to give their audience clear direction on how they expect them to respond.

Does the speaker expect the audience to shout out their answers? Jump up from their seats? Or does the speaker want audience members to raise their hands so the speaker can call on them one at a time? Audience response tip 2 is one of the most basic speaker tips. Speakers must let their audience know what what they want them to do, either by telling them or by showing them through example.

Perhaps the audience has been asked a hypothetical question, a ‘what if’ question by the speaker. Are people supposed to just sit back in their seats and imagine? If so, how long should they do this activity … 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 30 seconds? Will there be  a discussion following the ‘imagining? Will questions be asked? Or will the speaker just continue with the presentation once the audience-activity has finished?

For speakers and presenters everywhere, questions are a great tool for interacting and building connection with their audience, but questions work best when the audience is given clear instruction on how they should respond. Without clear instruction audience members can quickly lose focus or get distracted. When that happens presentation flow gets interrupted and in any confusion, no matter how small, important points can easily be forgotten or lost completely.

The next time you are giving a presentation and want to use questions to engage your audience, stop. Make sure the people listening to you know exactly what’s expected. When they know how you want them to respond, they will follow through every time.