PodiumWise | Tips for advanced presentation skills

In my last post, I suggested starting a speech or presentation by polling the audience with two or three questions (Start with Polling Questions).  This is a good way to get immediate attention and learn valuable information about your audience.

I have something I need to add to that advice.

When polling an audience, the typical procedure is to ask for a show of hands.  By a show of hands, how many of you attended last year’s conference?

When you do this kind of polling, please process the results.  In other words, say something about the number of hands that have been raised.  Oh, good.  I see that most of you were here last year.

Too many speakers ask for a show of hands, but say nothing about the number of hands that go up.  They briefly look around the room and then immediately go on to their next point.  They neither comment on the number of hands nor interpret the significance of the number.

The response you get to a polling question is not just for your private observation and interpretation.  Share what you have learned and comment on its significance.

Oh, good.  I see that most of you were here last year.  That tells me you are familiar with this issue.  It was discussed in several of our 2009 sessions.

When people are asked to participate in a poll—even a simple “raise your hands” poll—they are naturally curious about the results and what to make of those results.

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