Friday, March 10, 2006

Presenting, a Genius!

Every time someone asks me to do any kind of presentation, I try to seed the audience such that they pipe in with the right questions. This allows you to shorten your boring, noninteractive speech and get to the good part. It also makes sure that you look your best answering questions specifically targetted to your best side.

Often, you don't even have to tell these people what questions to ask: it's usually not hard to predict what they want to ask. So simply saying, "I want you to make sure there's some Q&A, so think of a question" will result in them eagerly asking exactly what you want them to ask. Is it "honest"? I dunno. It works.

You can even phrase your presentation with "hooks" that make the audience ask questions without ever even meeting them. I don't quite know how to do that, but I've seen it used. It lets good speakers adjust their content to the level of the audience.

I don't do much in the way of public speaking, and the only "seeding" I do here at my blog is a few friends who happened to accidentally stumble across it. I don't have to tell them what to say: their comments are insightful (or, at least, incisive) enough without guidance. But, I have used it more overtly a few times, and it does work.

Now, read Seth Godin's opinion.

Durrr... ya think I would have thought of that.

I wonder if this would work for blogs...


Darius Kazemi said...

You know, of course, that this is how I like to run my presentations. At least in a modified form. I keep the presentation itself very short. Just enough to pique the interest of the audience. I shoot for 70% Q&A, 30% lecture.

Craig Perko said...

That doesn't exactly surprise me.

Duncan said...

I dunno. I'm finding that blogs are a weird sort of monologue, with conversation dynamics. Not the same thing as a free-for-all forum idea, but the conversations are stilted, and seem to have a limited life-span (partially dictated by the owner of the blog).

If you started you post with a question, like answering reader mail... then you'd just be monologue-ing on a question at a time. Seems odd, because there is lag in feedback.

Craig Perko said...

Just to keep my my short answers: I think you're right.