Public speaking could be a misleading term, it is less about speaking and more about communication. Questions are incredibly versatile tools for making presentations more effective and engaging. Questions could be used for building intrigue, inviting audience engagement, helping you remember what to say and even calming your anxiety.
🤩 Rhetorical questions build intrigue and prompts audience to think about the issue. “But why, some say, the moon? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?” asked JFK in his Moon Speech https://www.jfklibrary.org/archives/other-resources/john-f-kennedy-speeches/rice-university-19620912
🙋♀️ Polling questions make the audience part of your point, shared experience is a great connection builder. It works well both in-person and on-line—”please raise your hand if you ever…” or “please vote with smile emoji if you ever…” Stand up artists and showrunners use it all the time https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o34HSHzOt5c
🔀 Outline the talk using questions and regulate the flow of the presentation. List questions which could serve as prompts for what you intend to say. It will help you to navigate speech without memorizing it word-by-word. In turn, it makes speech more conversational and engaging—you are simply answering your audience’s unasked questions.
Read more about Questions as a Speaker’s Best Tool here https://www.toastmasters.org/magazine/magazine-issues/2019/jan/19-presentation-skills
One common comment I usually get from a Grammarian is to replace ‘very’ word with stronger alternatives, and there is no lack of good synonyms. However, it could be vital to avoid “badjectives”—adjectives so generic and broad that they have virtually no impact (as Joel Schwartzberg calls them https://www.inc.com/joel-schwartzberg/improve-communication-by-avoiding-badjectives.html). These are used so broadly, that they are trivialized and lost any meaning—all ideas are “great”, impact is “amazing”, products are “innovative”, name it. We use them for a simple reason, they are readily available, instant and easy to use.
Going from “adjectives” to more impactful adjectives is simple—just to ask and answer WHY? question and then choose the most meaningful. An example:
❌ Great job, Lisa!
❔ WHY was Lisa’s accomplishment “great?” Because it could lead to a new revenue stream.
✔ Wow, Lisa, the new market you discovered could result in an entirely new revenue stream! 👉 https://www.inc.com/joel-schwartzberg/improve-communication-by-avoiding-badjectives.html
Multiple communication channels available 24/7 are a mixed blessing. They allow to spread the message quickly and in multiple formats. However, it can be easy to lose sight of what really needs to be said. Hence, we could technology on a pause for a moment and focus on the message. There are three simple steps to shape the overarching communications strategy and prepare a clear message.
1. 👩🏻🤝🧑🏻 First, REALLY know your audience
2. 🌟 Then ask, “What do they need to hear?”
3. 🛣 Now for the fun part: building your strategy. Involve your internal stakeholders 👩💻 Contributors, 🕵️♂️ Reviewers, and 👩💼 Approver(s)