How can I create an outstanding live Q&A?
So you’ve chosen to include a live Q&A in your event – good decision! There’s nothing like giving people a chance to voice their opinions to encourage them to feel involved. However, if it’s your first time running a live Q&A session, you may find that things don’t always go exactly to plan.
It’s worth picking up a few tips beforehand so that you can be confident that your event will go as smoothly as possible, as planning and leading a Q&A session can be more challenging than you might expect.
Follow these 11 key tips to ensure your next live Q&A is a success:
Before the Q&A
1. Planning Makes Perfect
Often speakers use up their allotted time with only their presentation, resulting in the Q&A session being cut short or forgotten completely. Make sure that prior to your presentation you have timed how long you will need. If you feel that you may be short on time, cut materials where necessary – just not the Q&A!
2. Practice, Practice, Practice
Some speakers can feel extra pressure due to the variable nature of live Q&A sessions. Prepare some answers to likely questions, and remember to keep them clear and concise. It is also important to understand how to thank someone for their question. Using their name in your answer is a good way to make an audience member feel valued.
3. Announce and Encourage Questions
Welcoming questions throughout a presentation is uncommon, as most speakers prefer to handle questions close to the end. Make sure that you notify the audience prior to the presentation that there is time set out just for their questions. Doing this early enough will encourage audience member to think of questions throughout the presentation. Speak positively about the Q&A section, and you’ll receive a larger collection of questions.
4. Define Etiquette Rules
It is important to inform the audience of how you want them to ask their question – for instance, whether you would like them to include a short introduction about themselves, or other any contextual information. Remember that you are in charge, so make sure you lay out any rules you want the audience to follow.
During the Q&A
5. Don’t Make Assumptions
When answering questions, remember that the audience members have different level of knowledge to you. Don’t brush over information that audience members may not know or understand. Remember to share any relevant context about the question you are answering, so that your audience fully understands the question and therefore your answer.
6. Pay Attention
It is important to show each audience member asking a question the professional courtesy of listening to their question in full. If you interrupt a question, you will be sending the message that you are more interesting/important than the audience member.
7. Rephrase the Question
By doing this you will discover two benefits. Firstly, any audience members that didn’t hear the original question have a second chance to. Secondly, this ensures that you and the person asking the question are on the same page.
8. Honesty Should Be Your Policy
If a question is asked that you don’t know the answer to be honest and tell the audience that you don’t know. Do not risk embarrassment by lying or twisting the question. You could even foster a collaborative spirit by addressing the audience to see if anyone else knows the answer!
9. Time Management is Crucial
Answer questions as thoroughly as you can, while still keeping a close eye on the time. There’s an art to being concise in your answers but still fully answering the question. Try practicing beforehand with questions you think will be raised.
After the Q&A
10. Provide a Conclusion
Attempt to provide a conclusion for your presentation instead of ending on an answer to one question, especially if the answer or question was negative. A concluding slide can prompt you to provide a few closing words for the audience, and solidify the audience’s learning from the event.
11. Follow-Up Questions
If you run out of time and still have unanswered questions, make it clear to the audience that you will be staying behind to provide more answers. If any audience members cannot stay, provide them with your contact details. Try not to leave any questions unanswered.
Still have questions?
Open Audience can provide you with pre-event, real-time, and post-event Q&A software that runs from any browser – allowing you to engage all your audience members with ease.
We offer bespoke customisation options such as moderation abilities, as well as a range of other features to improve your event’s interactivity. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0) 1442 461 575 to learn more about how we can improve your audience engagement.