How do you engage an audience during a presentation? How can you encourage audience participation, discussion and debate without getting off topic?

Try  leading a discussion using these tips on Socratic Direction, featured in our Presentation Excellence App.

The Presentation Excellence App, developed by Bigrock in partnership with Ashridge Executive Education, is available for on the App StoreGoogle Play.

Presentation Excellence – Discussion:

Use Socratic direction to prove a point and encourage audience participation. This usually involves asking a series of pointed questions to finally get to an “Aha!” moment. You can use the following mnemonic for the process:

Know the answers you want

Open with ‘open’ questions

Paraphrase audience’s responses

Summarise contributions (preferably visually if you have something like a flipchart)

Add your own points

A few things to remember….

  • Prepare, prepare – Socratic discussion starts from knowing your audience’s likely responses. Try to think of as many questions your audience may come up with.
  • Accept input – Accept input from the audience with open-ended, generative statements such as “What do you think…”.
  • Know your outcomes – It’s important to keep sight of the point you are making and push forward towards it. Park any topics that take you way off the point and come back to them if you have time.
  • Have patience – You will need patience with this method, open ended questions can result in open ended discussion. If you try to rush you may create the perception that you are not listening to your audience.

For more top tips on Presenting download our Presentation Excellence App.

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