Reminded today of something I see quite often (twice in the last four days). Speakers who apparently intend to include their audiences, but never do. Today’s quote was, “OK, now I want to hear from you. What do you think about…“, followed by a rhetorical question. But, apparently not comfortable with silence, the speaker paused but a fraction of a second and went on to delineate a few more points, then answered the question himself, and the message to the audience was clear — “I’ll do the talking here, thankyouverymuch.”Most audiences need some sort of interlude, change of pace, or inclusion. Questions are a great way to get them from following a train of thought to thinking on their own. But when the question isn’t given enough time for answer, then it’s just more train of thought from the presenter. And when there is a promise of a change of pace and it doesn’t come, then the audience gets the message that it really isn’t about them a lot more loud and clear than the real message. And the result is an audience that begins to think about whatever they want, since it’s obvious the message isn’t about them.
Include your audience. Don’t just say you will.