Top tips on Getting Your Audience to Ask Questions

meeting roomOriginally posted on Evvnt Industry News by Adam Parry.

We’ve all been there: the speaker is nearing the end of their presentation, heading towards the fifteen minutes they’ve set aside for ‘questions and discussion’. Then, as the slide with ‘Any questions?’ appears on the screen, you could hear a pin drop. Tumbleweed rolls by and everyone stares at their feet. So why isn’t your audience eager to stick their hands in the air and get involved? In reality there will be a number of reasons, so we’ve outlined a few tips on how you can avoid the post-presentation silence and have your audience desperate to ask questions…

Know your audience

You’d hope that every presenter would have an understanding of the types of people that will be in the audience and what they will be interested in, yet we often sit through sessions that aren’t quite what we expected. When you’re invited to speak at an event make sure you ask the organisers what type of people will be there, what their reasons are for attending and their pain points. If you know who you are speaking to, you can get the content right resulting in a much more engaged audience. If you’re addressing something that they can actually relate to, they’re much more likely to fire a question your way.

Break the ice

First impressions are everything. If you can get the audience on your side right from the off, then things will be a lot easier further down the line. I recently caught the opening session at EMEC 2014 in Istanbul, where Dave Sharpe energised the audience by asking people to take out the most peculiar thing they carried in their bags and showed it to the rest of the audience. It was a simple request, but really lightened the mood and had the audience laughing. From that point on people were engaged and switched on.

Keep them engaged

If you can get away with it, don’t simply introduce yourself and talk at the faces in the crowd for an hour. If you can drop in activities and votes throughout your talk then the likelihood is the audience will feel more energised to participate in the discussion by asking questions.

Make sure everyone can ask questions

You might be happy to stand up in front of a room full of strangers and talk, but not everyone feels the same. According to the National Institute of Mental Health an amazing 74% of people are afraid of public speaking, so you need to get round this somehow. Try using an audience interaction tool to give everyone an equal chance at asking a question or adding their two-penneth without having to speak out loud.

Of course, there are hundreds of ways to engage with your audience (and many books have been written on this very topic!) but following the few simple tips above will go a long way to ensuring some level of audience-based discussion will take place.

Why not tell us what you think about this story and leave a comment below!

Image credit: freedigitalphotos

Events that Lunch: Space for Lunchtime Events in DC

lunchIn the competitive market for people’s time and attention, lunch events are a great option for organizations looking to make a connection with attendees. After-hours events are difficult for some to manage as they need to balance family care after work, however, everyone needs to eat lunch. Why not help your audience use that time effectively?

While lunches can be large hotel ballroom gatherings, there is a great opportunity to use the lunch hour(s) for smaller, more intimate events. Smaller lunches offer a great opportunity for real speaker and audience interaction (more so than a quick Q&A shouted across a large ballroom). Lunchtime events are appropriate for single speakers or panels and even just as a networking venue. There is a huge array of private room options in DC and the surrounding metro area. Here are a couple that we think are interesting spaces to consider.

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The Future of Mobility Goes Far Beyond BYOD


Originally posted on FedTech Magazine by Brad Grimes.

What does GSA know about a mobile workforce that others may not? Work is wherever the worker is. 

Just as government agencies get a handle on bring-your-own-device initiatives, which allow employees to use their own mobile technology to perform work, some say the BYOD issue is almost moot.

“On BYOD, I think that conversation is going to be outdated before we figure out the answer to it,” said Tony Macri, workplace and organizational strategist at the General Services Administration, at the Intel Security Through Innovation Summit in Washington, D.C.

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Agency Mobility Made Easy

mobile-gov-strategy-300Originally posted on FedTech Magazine by Brad Grimes

Federal agencies can hone their mobility strategies. Mobility today is a critical factor in enabling effective government, from the Defense Department to the Census Bureau. Whether used to support telework policies or facilitate emerging applications in the field, mobile devices allow agencies to work smarter and more efficiently.

But successful mobility initiatives require planning and a thorough understanding of the technologies and processes required to maintain a secure, productive mobile workforce. By some measures, 90 percent of federal workers use mobile devices in their jobs, but a mere 11 percent of those devices are considered secure.

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No Strings on Me! Tablet Use at Events

stringsTablets have become a lifesaver, or at least an arm saver, for event managers used to carrying around large binders that contained all needed documentation for an event. As tablet use continues to increase among event planners and attendees alike, what are some ways events and our interactions at events have to change?

For event planners, the tablet may be lighter, but if data is not organized and accessible, it may become just as cumbersome as flipping through those heavy binders. This article from Corbin Ball Associates provides some great guidance on how best to optimize your tablet for on-site use complete with suggestions on apps to download and begin using today.

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