Presenting? Don’t start your prep with your slides

31st May 2022

When you make a presentation, would you prefer:

  1. You do all the talking
  2. Your audience joins in – asks questions, responds to your questions, etc?

#2, yes?

And when you’re in the audience of a presentation, would you prefer:

  1. The presenter does all the talking
  2. You join in – ask questions, respond to their questions, etc?

#2, yes?

So both the presenter and their audience would prefer the audience to contribute.

But often they don’t.


Because the presenter doesn’t ask them any questions.

Which isn’t surprising – because the presenter didn’t prepare any. Instead, they spent ages on the slides, maybe had a run-through, and that’s it.

So when you’re next presenting, to get more interaction…


In other words, your script should contain two things:

  • What you’ll say – your content
  • What you’ll ask – your questions, to get your audience speaking

And I don’t just mean the usual Presenter Questions – “Any questions? (silence) Ok then”.

Instead, I mean questions that the audience must answer – like:

  • These are the three topics you asked me to cover today. Are they still the most important to you?
  • Great. Which would you like us to start with?
  • #2? Yes, let’s start there. Before we do, please can I ask – why do you want us to start there?

In this example, we are only 30 seconds into the presentation, but the audience has already told you they agree with your content, what their priority is, why it is their priority, and…

…very importantly: they are already speaking. This means they are much more likely to answer other questions you ask later.

When I prep presentations, I have a simple rule of ‘1 to 2’: I must ask at least one question every two slides.

What’s your rule?

And could you ask more questions than you do?

Action Point

Next presentation, include some questions in your script. Both you and your audience will be delighted you did!

SPECIAL OFFER: because presentations are so important, for this week, I’ve made my Presentation Videos free of charge. So to watch lots more top tips for creating and delivering better presentations, click here then scroll down to month #4’s videos

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