An interactive presentation - always be ready for what your audience might tell you

Posted on 2015/08/03

There's a classic piece of advice given to all trainee lawyers: 'never ask a question you don't already know the answer to'. Many people will remember the OJ Simpson trial as a prime example of this; he was asked to try on a 'bloodied glove' which the prosecutor had never checked would actually fit his hand, and it didn't.

This advice is of equal value if you are conducting a presentation and are going to use our superb IQ Polls technology to invite the audience to take part in SMS voting. Of course, the key is not to force people to provide the response you want. This isn't a poll, it will quickly be seen as nothing more than a cynical exercise to prove how clever the speaker is. What follows may not be pretty!

The key is to know the variety of potential responses that might be the outcome of such a poll and then to be able to deal professionally with each. Therefore, for example, you should be ready to deal with a large majority sharing a single view, yet still be able to include those with another opinion in the remainder of your presentation.

It's also possible that, where you offer a series of choices, no clear winner will emerge. In such a case, you would need to be able to discuss each of the options, and then be able to draw all of the conclusions together into a cohesive presentation.

Another point to ponder is when to introduce such a polling moment. It could be at the start, to facilitate a debate and discussion about a variety of options. Equally, your poll might be an end-point to assess how effectively your argument has carried throughout the day. Again, you will need to be ready to deal with everything from substantial disagreement through to an enthusiastic acceptance of what you have been saying.

As the recent general election result proved, when you are subject to polling, never assume you know what the outcome will be! Being able to deal professionally with all outcomes – whether sought or otherwise – will mark you out as a skilled presenter, even to those who disagree with you.