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Presentation Basics by Robert J. Rosania

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Silence

In our society even short periods of silence have a way of making people uncomfortable. Nevertheless, silence can be an excellent facilitation tool because it creates just enough tension to get people thinking. When you ask a question, give people some time to think their ideas through and formulate a response. If audience members don’t respond, don’t automatically let them off the hook. Try rephrasing the question or asking a follow-up question along the same lines as the first.

For example, you could ask an open-ended question, such as: “How has our new computer tracking system affected your work?” After about six to eight seconds of silence (or whatever seems appropriate for your particular presentation), you could try: “Okay, how ...

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