Aside from fielding and asking questions, there are other ways of analyzing audience attention and feedback. Unfortunately most trainers are unaware of these methods or feel audience analysis is not really all that effective or important. Nothing could be further from the truth. Analysis is the main tool for what is known as the "functional approach" this dictates that you always seek to measure your progress toward an objective as well as the accomplishment itself. Without the ability to analyze feedback, trainers may have unrealistic or false impressions about the progress being made in the presentation, and thus will be uncertain or wrong in determining their success.
Ask "friendly" questions by putting the "you" element into the question. This lets the audience know that you are on their side and genuinely are interested in their response. In order to emphasize this fact, some trainers develop the fine art of leaning forward slightly or cocking their head. As you allow the trainee to answer, limit the answer to the information wanted but give the trainee time to think and phrase the answer. Be objective in evaluation and give the trainee credit for intelligence. From your knowledge of the experience level of the audience, be sure that the trainee can answer the question, but always supply an "out" in case you've chosen the wrong person to avoid the possibility of embarrassment or ridicule.
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CEO, A.E. Schwartz & Associates, Boston, MA., a comprehensive organization which offers over 40 skills based management training programs. Mr. Schwartz conducts over 150 programs annually for clients in industry, research, technology, government, Fortune 100/500 companies, and nonprofit organizations worldwide. He is often found at conferences as a key note presenter and/or facilitator. His style is fast-paced, participatory, practical, and humorous. He has authored over 65 books and products, and taught/lectured at over a dozen colleges and universities throughout the United States.