Bootstrap Your Public Speaking With Public Questions

One of the biggest anxieties a speaker (not to mention an event’s content staff) has is a talk which does not generate any questions. A talk with no questions is a talk which the audience is hoping will end.

You can become an instant hero for a speaker by asking a good question that demonstrates your listening, your learning, and your curiosity. But, what’s more, you can use this moment to become a better public speaker yourself:

1) Get acclimated to the attention. While asking the question is much easier than answering it, asking the question and holding a microphone even if for a few seconds is a powerful taste of what public speaking is like. You have to be poised, prepared, and confident in your delivery in front of people.

2) Learn empathy for your hearers. Most speakers/moderators will (blessedly) try to stop you if you go on too long with a question. It can also be embarrassing to look like you don’t know what you’re talking about when you question someone. Use these times to sharpen up and gain empathy into what an audience (and what a speaker) wants to hear.

3) Develop content on the fly. Asking a good question is like adding a good bullet point to a talk. By questioning well (and in such a way as to prompt an interesting answer), you end up building good content for a talk. This is a skill you can port over into your own career as a speaker.

By asking good questions you learn all these things, you co-create a talk, and you take a major step toward your own full public speaking.

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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