i. Allow your audience to participate in a limited manner. If you’re working with limited time, you won’t want to allow your audience to freely participate in the seminar; however, you will want to make some attempt to let them ask questions and to challenge statements you have made in a limited fashion.
One way in which you can do this is to state the convention you’re going to use in advance. For instance, you might tell the audience to raise their hands if they have questions about the seminar—and you will call on them when possible.
Alternatively, you might suggest that people write down questions, and ask them only at the end to avoid derailing the talk. However, in many situations, you will be able to gain greater, more active participation if you allow people to stop you to ask questions—even if you limit how many you will take. If something you’ve said has confused them, for instance, this can be corrected naturally by their asking you for clarification.
ii. Control the flow of the interaction with your audience. Perhaps the most important skill you can develop as a speaker is to be able to control the flow of the dialogue you have with your audience. In particular, you will want to get comfortable with the idea that you will have to pass on certain questions. If you’re going to cover them later in the talk, you should always defer the question by mentioning that.
Another thing you need to get comfortable doing is declining questions or finding ways to work-around them. If, for instance, a particular member of the audience repeatedly asks the same or similar questions (and claims that you aren’t answering them satisfactorily), then you need to find a way to answer them, so that you can move forward.
One way in which you can deal with these members of the audience (the ones who repeatedly push a particular point) is to simply tell them you will discuss it with them after the speech is complete. Another possibility is to direct them to evidence (perhaps by providing paper citations or by referencing someone else’s work) that supports what you have claimed. Even if they still disagree, they will have to find out about that work and discredit it before they can continue with their allegation.
iii. Listen carefully to your audience. Many speakers make the mistake of leaping to answer audience members’ questions before they have even completed the sentence. While it may seem like this is a good way to prevent audience members from going on too long, it can backfire if they claim that you’ve misinterpreted their question.
My advice is to compactly restate the audience member’s question before you answer it. This practice will ensure that you answering the right question—and will also give audience members the general impression that you actually care to get the question right before answering it. So, listen carefully and quietly, restate the question, and then ask if you’ve gotten it right. Only after you’ve done that should you begin answering it.
iv. Acknowledge good criticism for what it is. If your audience consists of other experts or of coworkers who have experience on similar projects, it is possible that they’ll think of something you haven’t. And if and when they do, you should take it for what it is: good, useful advice.
So, next time you get useful advice, don’t be quick to discard it. Instead, credit the audience member for her suggestion, and then write it down on a piece ofpaper, so that a) you can remember to look into that question further; and b) it isclear to the audience that they can actually contribute to what you are doing by providing useful comments.
Source of Information : Public Speaking Exposed