The dynamics of group presentations can be interesting, to say the least. This is a sales presentation, not a floorshow, so you want to encourage questions and comments from the group. In fact, you should plan to ask some questions of your own just like you would if you were meeting with the prospect one-on-one.
Your questions can either be thrown out to the group as a whole or addressed to one person in particular, depending on which is more appropriate. You will find that agreement questions such as “Do you like this idea?” don’t work very well in a group setting. There’s too much danger of the group splitting into factions or a particularly out-spoken member shooting you down before you get into your presentation.
Information questions, though, such as “Who is your biggest competitor?” can work very well. Many times, they’ll spark an intra-group discussion, which is a great time to listen closely and learn a lot. Watch the group dynamics to learn who the leaders really are. Obviously, you’ll want to listen to what they say about their business, their market, and their competitors as well as what they say about your idea, your company, and your competitors.
You should welcome questions or comments that come from the group, even when they break up the flow of your presentation. If the question is one you don’t want to answer yet, it’s perfectly acceptable to say that you’re going to cover that subject in a minute. Just make sure you do cover it before you end your presentation. If it’s a question about your proposal that indicates the listener doesn’t understand something, take the time right then to make it clear. If one person didn’t get it, there are probably others who missed it, too.
Dave Donelson distills the experiences of hundreds of entrepreneurs into practical advice for small business owners and managers in the Dynamic Manager's Guides, a series of how-to books about marketing and advertising, sales techniques, motivating personnel, financial management, and business strategy.