Discussion

During this phase, provided for in most cases, the main issue is to manage and guide the intended audience interaction. If no one else has been given the task of moderating the discussion, the speaker will assume that role and continue to use the authority accorded by their function. The simplest type of discussion is back-and- forth between presenter and individual participants. If direct reference is made to other contributions, turn-taking may be negotiated. Sometimes, though, events may acquire a turbulent dynamic of their own that can only be managed by resolute interference. Where presentations are part of management routine, an executive present may act as moderator by authority of their status. In asymmetrical communicative constellations, as when a new concept is presented to senior management, probing questions are to be expected, not to mention some cross-fire.

The use of new media means audience reactions may be accessible to web communities in real time. How awful if, for instance, Twitter messages on a feedback channel read: “I’m bored already and it’s just the first slide” or “What the hell does this mean?!” (Morton 2014:174). Duarte (2012: 215) points out that such problems can be anticipated: “Have a moderator keep an eye on social media and send text messages to your cell phone if he/she thinks you should address any criticisms in a Q&A at the end of your talk.” Frequently, the outcome of presentation and discussion requires further action on the part of the speaker (e.g., sending detailed additional information) and of the participants (e.g., if the presentation served a management purpose).

 
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