In an ongoing effort to make speaking magical, here is one of many quick tips I will give you to utilize when planning your next talk.
nah, that's a terrible name. "The Set Up"? "The Future Thought"? I dunno...let's stick with pre-think, because well that is exactly what I want you to get your audience to do.
Think, ahead of time.
We all know how valuable asking questions of your audience can be, read all about it here. But asking a question out of the blue? Yeeesh, that can be awkward.
You're humming along, in a groove, telling stories, and setting up your great points to come later, then all of a sudden you look your audience in the eyes and say, "I want to speak now, tell us all what is the scariest moment of your life? / Why are you here? / What's your big dream?"
When the audience is surprised by a question they will sit there and wait for some other brave soul to possibly embarrass herself by speaking up first. At which point you will be able to hear the group exhale, 'I'm off the hook, I don't need to answer.'
BUT YOU CAN HELP THEM.
If you know you're going to ask them a question in 90 seconds, a question you want them to jump right into with answers & conversation, tell them you have a question in 90 seconds. Tell a bit more of a story, then ask them.
"In a minute I'm going to ask you why you think you're here today, but first let's look at how people typically answer that question (show survey results)...now, turn to the person next to you and tell them why you are here today in this workshop."
"I'm going to tell you a story about my aunt deciding to travel the world. Afterwards I'm going to ask you what parts of her life demonstrated a healthy level of confidence, so keep that in mind while we dive into the life of Edna in Egypt..."
Your job as a speaker is not to impress anyone or make them feel insecure, but to help them change. You are there for them. As soon as you forget that you're not going to do anything magical.
Help them win by helping them pre-think about a question you're going to ask, then like magic they will have a response ready to go!