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Chapter 13. Interact Successfully Managing Q&A > Facilitate Reluctant Audiences

Facilitate Reluctant Audiences

With some audiences, such as subordinates, getting a question period started is difficult.

  • Adopt a positive attitude that shows you truly do welcome questions. One speaker at the conclusion of his talk folded his arms, raised his chin so he could look down at the audience, turned the corners of his mouth down, and said in a flat tone, "Are there any questions." All aspects of his nonverbal message conflicted with his verbal "invitation." In that situation, listeners generally believe the nonverbal over the verbal (and usually they are right).

  • Choose transition statements that encourage feedback: "We've covered a lot of territory. I'll be pleased to go into detail on any points you choose" works better than "Any questions?" (often accurately interpreted as "There'd better not be").

  • Offer an exit opportunity for those who want to leave. Rank or protocol may deter some from leaving, so your explicit invitation may be well appreciated. This will also let anyone with more urgent business elsewhere leave without disrupting the session.


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