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presentation training Leading the discussion p21


To control the process so as to ensure there is a constructive discussion after a film or presentation.


• In your introduction lay down the procedure for the discussion sessions – all questions/comments through the chair.

• Prepare two or three good questions to ask the group in case discussion is sluggish.

• Arrange beforehand for a co-operative group member to ask a suitable question?


• Watch the audience carefully.

• Look for signs of interest – nodding head, tilted head, facial expressions, taking notes, comments to neighbour.

• Look for signs of disagreement – shaking head, pursed lips, critical frowning.

• Look for signs of boredom – yawning, slouching.


Stimulating discussion

• Use a positive and encouraging tone of voice.

• When asking a question, get eye contact with someone who showed interest during presentation – this is a silent invitation to respond.

• Ask a question to the whole group – if no one responds you can then ask an individual.

• If you want a response from a particular individual – look at him – say his name – ask the question e.g. “Mr Gillespie, I know you are interested in …., how did you react to …?”

• Start with all questions/comments through the chair.

• Be alert to pick up signs from people wanting to speak.

• Acknowledge these signs (usually non-verbally) to create a natural queuing order.

• If a person is talking too long or digressing too far – interrupt tactfully and get another member involved, e.g. “Thank you for enlarging on the point, John. I think Susan would like to add something”.

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