6 Ways to Create More Effective and Enjoyable Q&A Sessions
When it comes to the presenter’s Q&A sessions, traditional methods are often met with groans and eye rolling. John Pytel and Michelle Manier discuss some of the pitfalls of traditional Q&A and how to avoid them.
- Microphone hijackers – One person in the group who gets up to the mike and rambles on about a question no one cares about can ruin the Q&A for the audience. Or else the guy who acts like an expert and takes up Q&A time giving his opinion.
- Fear of speaking in front of group – Public speaking is listed as number one among fears people have most — so many avoid asking questions because they don’t want to speak in front of the group.
- Forgetting questions to ask by the end of the session – Sometimes people have great questions during the session and by the end they forget what they wanted to ask.
- Off topic or softball questions – Questions that have no relevance or are so obvious it is embarrassing.
Tips for How to Avoid Q&A pitfalls:
- Carve out a time specifically for Q&A and stick to it. This automatically creates a sense of urgency and helps the speaker keep the Q&A on point.
Provide materials and encourage attendees to make question cards they can hold up.
- Give out a phone number to let attendees text in their message anytime. The key is to collect questions throughout presentation so the speaker can answer them at the end.
- If possible, use a moderator to facilitate the Q&A. A moderator can shift through questions asked and see the popular trends. This is an efficient use of Q&A time and ensures questions are important to the group.
- By using a technology tool like Social Q&A, speakers can audit the questions to make sure no one will undermine the discussion.
- Ask audience members for their “aha moments” and “key takeaways.” This tells a speaker how well the information was received.
How do you banish those Microphone Mikes or Nervous Nellies at your conferences? Do you have any ideas for avoiding Q&A pratfalls? Tell us your stories. We would love to hear.