Conducting Q&A sessions during online events like webinars should be common practice, but when putting on an online event, the Q&A session can be an afterthought.
But in my opinion, that is a mistake – you are missing a terrific opportunity to allow your audience to be active participants of the event. A well-conducted Q&A brings gives the audience a voice and allows you to obtain meaningful data on what your viewers care about most.
In this blog, we are offering five tips for hosting a meaningful Q&A session during your next live event.
1. Gather Questions in Advance
One of the best ways to facilitate a great Q&A session is to ask for questions in advance. Before the webinar, you could email out a simple form to your audience, ask key stakeholders for input, or come up with a list of possible questions yourself.
During the event, you can encourage your audience to submit questions via chat. If you are using a program that allows the Q&A or chat to appear alongside the live stream look for functionality that allows you to monitor and screen the questions before you release them Live. This allows you to control the content.
2. Have a Moderator
A moderator is an important part of the Q&A. If it’s crickets and no one has a question, the moderator can add some of the questions that you received prior to the session. This can help to encourage the audience to submit their inquiries. The moderator can also do the work so that the speaker isn’t trying to do double duty and can concentrate on what they are presenting. If it’s a live event, a moderator can discuss questions with the audience member before handing over the mic.
3. Plan for the Worst
It’s always better to plan for the worst during Q&A, because even the most seemingly neutral topics can spark intense debate. Put yourself into the mindset of your most vocal critic. What tough questions would they have? If you prepare in advance, you’re less likely to be caught off guard.
When answering tough questions, a speaker can give themselves time to think by repeating the question, taking a beat to think, or admitting that they don’t have all the answer. We are all human, after all, and most audiences appreciate honesty over “bs”.
4. Be Flexible
When you get the audience involved, you don’t always know how the event is going to go. Being flexible is key. Maybe that means going longer than you originally planned if the questions are rolling in and the audience is super involved. Sometimes there may be a smattering of questions, and sometimes you have way too many questions for your allotted time. If the audience is quiet, the moderator can step in. If there are too many questions, the moderator can screen and prioritize the best ones.
5. Take Notes for Future Content
One of the most valuable parts of a Q&A session is the chance to get into the minds of your audience and see what they care about most. Take note of the questions and topics being asked, because it could be fodder for your next event, blog or even the next webinar.
If there are too many questions to answer, that’s a good thing – let the audience know you will follow up on the remaining questions via email or blog post. It’s a great way to have another touchpoint and be seen as a thought leader in your space.
I hope these tips were helpful to you! Q&A sessions can be great opportunities to connect with your audience and address the topics they care about most. If you would like to discuss how Digital Joy audience engagement products can help your next event, please visit digitaljoy.media/events.