Questions – Part 1 – Questions are fundamental
Questions is a big topic, more of a chapter than an article. So this is part 1, and the tip is that questions are fundamental to any talk.
Why? They help create engagement. If we are looking for an answer, we are more inclined to stay engaged until we find one – so you want your audience asking you or even more importantly themselves questions, and looking for answers in your talk.
Perhaps this point is just too obvious, but it is easy to forget. A monolog of information delivered with an unclear reason (a question) is hard going. When we’re delivering information through a talk, questions are the hooks that we hang the information from. And as the speaker, we should be proactive in generating the right questions, which may be explicit, but often they’re not.
Storytelling generates implicit questions; in entertainment we’re often left hanging as the book or film changes to a different scene or the closing music of the soap opera kicks in… you want to know what happens, it’s uncomfortable to leave a thread incomplete. An unanswered question, is a powerful draw.
Even the simplest of jokes "A horse goes into bar, the barman says, ‘why the long face’" is quietly laced with questions.
A talk then, is a planned route from one or more big questions, through a maze of small questions and answers to reach a point of answering a big question(s) – or just to confuse things, cause the listener to answer a big question.
Questions are our most basic, fundamental engagement tool. What we do as speakers, is package them beautifully.