Spark's Presentation & Public Speaking Blog

7 Tips to Encourage Audience Questions in Your Presentation Q&A

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September 19, 2017

Ever seen a presenter ask “Any questions?” at the end of their presentation, and heard only crickets from the audience?

In my work as a professional emcee and trade show presenter, I see it often, and it always makes me cringe because it’s so awkward, and so completely avoidable.

Asking for questions and getting none kills a presentation’s momentum. It usually goes like this:

  1. The presenter, having run out of content, asks “Any questions?”
  2. The audience, having no questions, sits immobile.
  3. The presenter, getting no questions, says, “OK, I guess I’m done.”

OUCH. How’d that happen?

Chances are, you caught your audience by surprise. They didn’t know you’d take questions, so they didn’t think of any. When you asked, you caught them off guard.

I want your next presentation to end with a bang, not a whimper. So try these tips to encourage questions:

1. PREPPING YOUR Q&A:
PRIME YOUR AUDIENCE

> TIP THEM OFF EARLY: As you start your presentation, tell your audience: “I’ll take all your questions at the end, so write down your questions as you think of them along the way.” That’ll get them active thinking of questions throughout your presentation.

> REMIND THEM: A few minutes before you take questions, say: “I’ve got one more slide to cover, then I’ll take your questions.” That’ll remind them to think of some questions if they haven’t yet.

2. STARTING YOUR Q&A:
GIVE THEM A NUDGE

> LEAVE ROOM: Starting a Q&A with little or no time left discourages questions; your audience wants to leave on time too! Instead, carve out 5-10 minutes or more for questions (and cut some content to make room if needed; your audience prioritizes the information they want to get over the information you want to share).

> USE A PLANT: Have a “plant” in the audience who’ll ask the first question (one you’re comfortable answering), which encourages other audience members to ask (and saves them the awkwardness of going first) and gives them time to think of something to ask.

> CHANGE YOUR PHRASING: Your audience may interpret the phrase “Any questions?” as a sign that you don’t expect or even want questions, which discourages them from asking. Instead, encourage questions by phrasing your question with a more upbeat, expectant tone: “Who’s got a question?” or “Who’d like to go first?”

> ASK IT YOURSELF: Ask yourself a common question: “One question I get often is…” Then answer it. Again, this encourages the audience to follow suit, and gives them more time to think of a question.

3. ENDING YOUR Q&A:
ADD THAT BANG!

Q&A or not, ending your presentation by saying you’re ending your presentation (“OK, I guess I’m done”) will end your presentation with a whimper. You can easily replace that whimper with a “bang” by restating your main takeaway and thanking your audience:

“Folks, I hope my presentation has shown you that when it’s raining and you want to stay dry outside, use an umbrella! You won’t regret it. Thanks so much for your time.”

 

And thank you so much for your time!

by Andy Saks

Connecticut YMCA books Spark live auctioneer

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April 28, 2017

New Canaan, CT — The YMCA of New Canaan, Connecticut, has booked Spark owner Andy Saks as its live auctioneer for its upcoming fundraiser.

Titled “A Night in Saint Barths,” the fundraiser will take place in April, 2017, at Waveny House, inside Waveny Park in New Canaan, Connecticut.

In his live auctioneer role, Saks will:

New Canaan YMCA logo

The YMCA of New Canaan, Connecticut has booked Andy Saks as its live auctioneer.

— advise the YMCA on auction item order and pricing

— write a word-for-word script for each auction item plus a “paddle raise” (fund-the-need) segment

— create a matching slide deck for all auctioneer segments

— create a looping slideshow of YMCA photos and auction items, to run during dinner

The event is being produced by Hollywood Pop, a full-service event and party planning company that designs and produces private parties and corporate events, including benefits, fundraisers, and concerts.

Saks has served as live auctioneer for other organizations in southern New England, including Newbury College, the Boston Jewish Film FestivalCommunity Rowing, Inc., and Boston Workmen’s Circle.

 

Spark booth presenter shines at US, European trade shows

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April 4, 2017

Spark professional trade show booth presenter Andy Saks recently completed a five-city swing of trade show bookings, delivering seven different product presentations for four corporate clients at five different shows in the United States and Europe:

RSA Conference (IT security) in San Francisco, for Fidelis Cybersecurity

HIMSS Conference (healthcare) in Orlando, for Citrix

Mobile World Congress (mobile technology) in Barcelona, Spain, for Citrix

ConExpo (construction) in Las Vegas, for Volvo Construction Equipment

IE3 Show (HVAC) in Nashville, for ContractorSelling.com

For each show, Saks either wrote or heavily edited his own booth presentation script, and tweaked accompanying visuals to match.

At ConExpo, Saks delivered three product presentations in rotation for Volvo throughout the five-day show, alongside Spark co-presenter Steve Multer, who Saks recruited from SKM Creative. Saks and Multer also served as co-emcees to help Volvo unveil its Golden Hauler and L350H loader for the global press assembled at the booth when the show opened.

At the RSA and ConExpo shows, Saks also delivered Spark’s booth staff lead attraction training program on site for his client.

Spark was booked for Citrix through trade show talent company Magnet Productions.

Photos and videos from the shows:

 

trade-show-presenter-san-francisco-rsa-2017

Professional booth presenter Andy Saks with booth assistants at the RSA Security Conference in San Francisco

 

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Professional booth presenter Andy Saks with booth assistants at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, Spain.

 

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Professional booth presenter Andy Saks with co-presenter Steve Multer at the ConExpo/ConAgg trade show in Las Vegas

 

 

 

 

 

 

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