We tend to think of presentations as our chance to speak to an audience. In reality, some of the best presentations I’ve attended ended with a “question and answer” (Q&A) session where the audience can ask the speaker questions.
In Microsoft PowerPoint, you can build slides that facilitate the Q&A portion of your presentation. A well-designed slide may lead the audience to ask an interesting question.
In this tutorial, I’ll teach you to end your presentation by interacting with your audience. We’ll work on designing a questions slide in PowerPoint. You’ll learn how to solicit questions from the audience and answer them confidently.
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Now, let’s dive into today’s tutorial on making the most of PowerPoint presentation questions slides and audience interaction.
How to Ask for Questions and Spark Audience Participation
I’ve sat through many presentations that close with the presenter sheepishly asking, “Uh, any questions?”
Asking this way will virtually guarantee that the audience won’t ask a question. The audience may start clapping before anyone even works up the courage to ask a question!
4 Ways to Ask for Questions
There are better ways to ask for questions. Instead of using the bland “any questions?” phrase that will leave the audience slack-jawed, try out something more creative to actually elicit questions.
These are four techniques that I’ve personally used to inspire questions from the audience:
- Seed someone in the audience like a friend or colleague to ask the first question. Sometimes, having someone break through the silence and ask the first question will help others speak up or ask follow-up questions.
- Answer your own question at the end of the presentation. Use phrasing like, “When I first started this project, my main question was…” Doing so will spark questions for audience members.
- Consider asking for questions somewhere in the mid-point of the presentation when the content is still fresh and relevant.
- Use a creative way of asking for questions in a persuasive presentation, such as “What’s the part of my presentation you most disagree with, and why?” This can create spirited discussions with audience members and can start an open dialogue.
How to Prepare for Audience Questions
Many presenters will skip including a Q&A altogether. I think there’s a simple explanation for why many presenters don’t ask for questions from the audience: fear.
Many presenters fear being caught off-guard by the audience’s questions. You never know what the audience may be wondering before you solicit questions, and that uncertainty leads presenters to exclude it altogether.
While you can never be certain of the questions you’ll receive, you can take steps to prepare for the questions you’re most likely to hear from the audience.
Consider these tips when you’re preparing for the Q&A portion of your presentation:
- Give your presentation to a smaller audience before the major presentation. Using that as a test run for questions may help you prepare for the same questions you’ll receive later on.
- Think about the questions you answered in your own mind while preparing the presentation. Chances are, the audience will share many of the same questions and want to hear how you arrived at your conclusion.
- Create backup slides that have additional data or charts on them to explain answers to possible questions your audience will raise. Having that perfect supplemental chart hiding at the end can really wow your audience when you’ve prepared for the question.
Essentially, you should spend time trying to anticipate what the audience is going to ask. Put yourself in their shoes and consider their background, and the questions they have may become obvious.
Above all: it’s okay if you don’t know the answer to all of the audience’s questions. Generally, the questions will be open-ended and there’s no “correct” answer, and the audience will just want to know what your thoughts are.
If it’s a specific question that requires a numeric answer that you need to research, simply follow up with the audience member after the presentation with your findings. It’s okay to say “I’ll get back to you with that answer.”
3 Strong Designs for Your Closing Slide
So far, we’ve talked about how to make the Q&A portion of your presentation engaging. Let’s dive into creating the last slide in PowerPoint to show on screen to encourage questions from your audience.
In this section, we’ll also take a look at two other approaches for closing out your presentation. I’ll offer more designs and content ideas for closing out your presentation in a strong way.
For this tutorial, I’m going to make recommendations for how to create an engaging closing slide using the Eureka PowerPoint theme.
Eureka is a PowerPoint theme that’s available on GraphicRiver, a site where you can buy inexpensive premium themes. I use themes like this to skip the hard work of designing presentation visuals from scratch.
Eureka, for example, has over 200 slide designs that you can use in your own presentation. Basically, it’s a huge collection of slide templates that you can drop your own content into. Focus on creating your presentation and preparing for the speaking portion and outsource the rest to a custom theme.
If this theme doesn’t catch your eye, there are plenty of other options available on GraphicRiver. Check out some of the most popular PowerPoint themes on GraphicRiver or browse through our top curated selection of the best:
Let’s look at how to use Eureka for customizing three different closing slides:
1. The “Thank You” Slide
A Q&A slide could say “any questions?”, but you could also use that slide to thank the audience and verbally solicit questions. This is a simple way to show gratitude that the audience took time to listen.
Eureka has a pre-built slide to thank the audience for their attendance. Use thank you powerpoint slide design #202 which has everything you need. You can also add a background image by clicking on the placeholder and choosing an image on your computer.
Another choice: You could use slide #4 and substitute the placeholder text as a way to create another simplistic closer.
2. The “Any Questions?” Slide?
Now, let’s take a look at slide designs that work well for asking for questions from the audience.
The first of these is PowerPoint slide design #32, which is a simple pre-built slide with an image placeholder and “Do you have questions?” as the presentation placeholder text. It also features a text box with background information and follow-up email and phone number boxes.
These slides could also contain follow-up information. If you’re going to send your presentation (instead of presenting it from an audience) you can use a slide like this to add your follow-up contact details.
Slide design #61 is another choice for an “Any questions” slide because it features simple visual placeholders and large textboxes.
A Q&A slide should be something simple that doesn’t distract the audience. The audience’s attention should be on the Q&A session itself, and not the visuals in the background.
3. The “Contact Us” Slide
The “Contact Us” Slide is a great choice for the final slide in sales presentations, fundraising pitches and any type of presentation that opens up the opportunity for follow-up communications.
In the Eureka theme, check out the PowerPoint final slide design 201, titled “Stay in Touch with Us.” This presentation slide template is ready for you to drop in a map screenshot of your business. This slide design is perfect if you’re telling the story of your business and asking the audience to visit your location.
Another option is slide design 200, titled “Get Connected.” This is another option that would work well for the final slide in PowerPoint presentation for companies with a large social media presence, with placeholders for all of the major social services.
Either of these choices are ideal for a “Contact Us” slide because they have follow-up details. Use these when you want your presentation to be the first of many communications you have with the audience.
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Recap and Keep Learning More
Make the most of your final PowerPoint slide design to help engage your audience at the close of your presentation.
With practice and preparation, a Q&A can be the most rewarding part of a presentation. A presentation can create a two-way communication that engages an audience with an opportunity to ask questions.
For more tips on creating inspiring questions, check out these other Envato Tuts+ tutorials:
Presentations10 Creative Presentation Ideas: That Will Inspire Your Audience to Action
PresentationsHow to Make a Persuasive PowerPoint Presentation
Microsoft PowerPoint37 Effective PowerPoint Presentation Tips
What’s stopping you from adding a Q&A portion to your presentation? Let me know in the comments below if you need more tips for engaging the audience.