Stuck in a Rut? 6 Novel Tricks to Spruce Up Q&A sessions

A great speech with a bad Q&A session is like a wedding cake without icing. As event organiser, it is your job to make it as easy as possible for your speaker(s) to interact with their audience.

With this in mind, we’ve found six tricks that you can help your speakers and attendees to get the most out of Q&A sessions.

Catchbox

If your conference is a little less formal, why not use Catchbox? They’re soft microphones, that can be thrown around the room. If your audience is smaller than 100 people, it is a great way to make interaction more interesting.

Turn phones into microphones

Crowdmics let your audience’s smartphones connect to the speaker system. Instead of having to hand around one microphone, every smartphone in the room can be used to get questions to the speaker.

Social Media Q&A

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If the audience is going to be big, then talk to your speaker about using Twitter or Facebook to gather questions. Have a stagehand go on, and read any questions gathered directly to the speaker via a microphone. This prevents the audience from having to yell their questions across a crowded hall.

Make the whole event about Q&As

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I am partial to a good speech, but Gary Vaynerchuk makes a compelling argument as to why we should place more emphasis on the Q&A element of conferences, potentially even making the whole event about Q&As. After all, if people don’t want to engage with a speaker, nowadays they can just watch speeches on Youtube or Vimeo. Q&As produce new and interesting content, as opposed to making the speaker rehash old ideas.

Schedule differently

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If the speech was over 45 minutes long, why not have a short networking break in between the talk and the Q&A? You can tell the audience immediately beforehand that they should think of questions during the break. It gives the speaker a short break in proceedings, and means the audience return for the Q&A fresh and ready to hear more.  

Prep your audience

Before the speech/speeches even begin, tell your audience what you expect from the Q&A session. In the video, Misha Glouberman shares his tips for making sure the questions asked are good quality and concise.


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Ali Coulson

Photo Credits: Catchbox, AlbertHerring via Wikimedia commons, Frau Hölle and photosteve101 via Compfight cc