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What to do when no-one has a question in the Q and A

January 31, 2019

 

You’ve come to the end of your presentation. It’s time for the Q and A. You call for questions “that brings me to the end of my presentation. I’m sure you have many questions, who has the first?”

And then. Nothing. They just look at you, or they look away. What next? What are you to do? 

Yes, you could walk away, thinking that they were unresponsive. But that may not help you. It depends why you are presenting. If you’re looking to get some business you’ll want to stick around. Don’t make the mistake of thinking they’re not interested. They may not be. But work on the facts not on your assumptions. Until someone says we’re not interested, or they start walking out, assume they’re interested.  

There are a couple of obvious options. The first is, if you think there may be no questions forthcoming, to have a question already planted in the audience with one of your supporters as part of your planning.  

And the second, and perhaps the best answer, is to ask yourself a question.

So after a moment’s wait after you realise no-one is going to speak, ask yourself a question. 

“A question that I’m often asked is….” And you go on to give them the question and then give them the answer. Maybe that will loosen the logjam, as you ask again, “do I have another question?” If there is still no response, you could ask yourself a final question, and if there’s still no response after that, maybe give up. 

Maybe your talk was so good that there is nothing left to ask. Maybe you didn’t pique their interest enough. Maybe it’s now 16.45 and they’ve got trains to catch.  

So, as you catch your train home and as you reflect on your performance consider what you might have done differently in the talk to generate more interest. More questions, perhaps. Or maybe being more controversial. Or deliberately leaving something out? 

But don’t worry about it. It happens to every speaker at some time. The thing is not to have it happen every time you speak. If that’s happening to you, call or email me and we’ll get you back on track!

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