Do you encourage or discourage questions in your classes? What about response to your questions?
Do you ask “Any questions?” while looking away and gathering up your papers, or while holding your hands up with palms facing out? If so, you are asking for questions, but discouraging people to actually ask them.
A better question might be “What questions do you have?” This question along with an open posture implies that you expect questions and encourages people to ask them. The key here is to wait long enough after you ask this for someone to actually ask a question.
When you do ask questions of the audience you need to have the courage and the patience to actually out wait them. People are uncomfortable with silence and will seek to fill it. If you are impatient and are not comfortable with the silence then you will often be the first one to break it and will start talking again. If you wait someone will ask a question, or volunteer an answer to the question you asked.
If you ask questions of the audience and truly want participation then never embarrass someone who had the courage to volunteer an answer. Doing so may get some laughs from the rest of the group but you will make everyone leary of speaking up in your class. You will also make it hard for trainers that follow you to get participation.
Asking questions and asking for questions is a great way to get people involved in the presentation. Remember to be patient and ask more desirable questions.
So, what questions do you have?