This is why I've decided to take questions throughout most of my speeches rather than wait until the end. I think you show your audience a certain disrespect when you expect them to sit quietly and passively while you talk to them. Also, your presentation may become that one-way, dead-end street to which I alluded at the top... all you, all the time, and maybe sounding like the same-old, same-old to your listeners. On the other hand, generating audience participation is a way of spicing up your talk.
Is this a hard and fast rule? Absolutely not. Sometimes it's impractical due to the circum- stances of your talk. Perhaps the room is too large and the audience is too big to do this. Or it may be inappropriate because of the nature of your presentation.In my previous post, I mentioned how I went around the room prior to the start of a recent presentation, introduced myself to the attendees as their speaker for the day, and got their names. That helped later as I stood at the front of the room. When I asked leading questions, and they showed interest in responding, I was usually able to call them by their names, connecting with them. In one case, I told a story that drew an amused reaction from a man in the back. I gestured toward him and called, "You liked that, didn't you, Lou?" He explained to me and the rest of the room why he had found that anecdote meaningful.
If you are delivering an emotion-packed speech, such as a eulogy or fund-raising appeal,
you certainly don't want to break the mood, or your spell, by having the audience interrupt. But, in many other situations, talking with the audience more one-on-one can be desirable.
Note: He also bought my book after the meeting was over.
I recommend a book titled Preventing Death by Lecture, by Sharon Bowman. I met Sharon only once at a local meeting of the National Speakers Association, but I found her to be one of the most memorable speakers I ever heard. She gives lots of fun tips on how to engage your audience so they are involved in your presentation and are more likely to remember you and what you said afterward. I encourage you to check her out.