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Architecture, Presentation Tips, Public speaking, Winning New Business

Presentation Tips – The Rhetorical Question

Here’s a quick and dirty one – when speaking, use more rhetorical questions.

Why? (You see what I did there?)

Because as soon as you ask: “So how are we going to deliver on time and on budget?” Everyone in the room is thinking, “How are they going to deliver on time and on budget?”

You have made everyone in the room think the same thing. That’s an amazing trick to pull off. And no one, and I mean no one, will see it as a trick.

Rhetorical questions work really, really well to start topics.

“So how easy is our system to use?” (You see what I did there? We’re talking about how easy, not how hard.)

“So, how sustainable can we make this building?”

And the ultimate….

“So, why choose us?”

As an aside, I was telephone polled two weeks ago before the London Mayoral election. Every question started with a leading statement. It was a newspaper poll and they plainly wanted to write that there was widespread apathy and were helping the results.

“Many people are saying they will not vote in the election. How likely are you to vote.”

I was fairly disgusted and took great care to lean in the opposite direction. I said I was 100% likely to vote. But it demonstrates how people who understand these things use techniques like “framing” – we’re talking about NOT voting – which is a form of anchoring – “How much would you pay for this? £100?” will get a different answer to, How much will you pay for this? £1000?”

You use anchoring and framing when you talk about the success of the project. Or talk about how you will deliver on time and on budget.

Stating the obvious, that’s why it will always be better to frame in the positive.

“How can we avoid going over-time and over-budget?”  Not so good….

So, why should you use positive, rhetorical questions?

Because they work.


About gristpresent

Presentation, Q&A and Engagement Coach. We help you win more business. Also BAFTA-winning film maker. See our new site www.grist.co.uk


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