Power Presentation Tips 21

Power Presentations Tips 21:

Ask rhetorical questions

Ask rhetorical questions during your presentation to better engage your audience. This technique is simple yet powerful. It works well in two circumstances - when delivering detailed information and when you want to persuade your listeners.

Rhetorical questions work on a few levels for you.

1. Asking a question grabs the attention of your audience. We are programmed to respond to questions. Even if we don't answer out loud our brain starts working on the answer.

2. Your listeners might already be thinking that question. If you ask and then answer the question that they have in their minds then two things work in your favor. Your presentation will feel more like a conversation to your listeners instead of a lecture. Plus, they will feel that you understand them because you know and answer their questions.

3. Posing a rhetorical question before you give important information builds anticipation for the information. Thus the information feels more welcome and appears more valuable to your listeners.

4. Asking a question makes your voice more interesting because you will naturally inflect your voice while asking the question. Contrast this with the typical monotone (boring) delivery of most statements.

5. Asking a rhetorical question is also a secret weapon for when you forget what comes next. Pose the question out loud to help get your brain back on track. The audience will think you did it for them. They don't need to know that you got lost.
For example: What comes next?

Some more examples:
What are the benefits of this service?
What is the schedule for implementation?
What have other customers said about this program?
How will we protect you from the risk?
Why is this important to our success?

Sprinkle rhetorical questions throughout your presentation to recapture your listeners' attention, sound more interesting and make it feel like a conversation.

George Torok
PS: tell me how this tip helps you.

PPS: Thanks for your comments and feedback.

Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.


1 comment:

Chris Witt said...


I absolutely agree with you on this one. Questions -- the right ones, at least -- are the way to go.

I've started building all of my presentations around the questions I think the audience will be asking themselves. What is this about? Why should I care. How does it affect me? What can I do about it?

I've even started explicitly asking the questions. And doing so has exactly the type of effect you describe.

Thanks, Chris