3 tips to get your audience involved in Q&A sessions
There are two major challenges when it comes to handling Q&A sessions. At one extreme, there’s the chance that you’ll be inundated with questions and comments, and leave your audience hungry for answers. On the other hand, you might find yourself facing a sea of silence as soon as question time begins ― and that can feel even worse.
But with the right digital tools, your audience Q&A session can engage people in a way that takes your presentation to another level. Here are our top 3 tips for Q&A sessions designed to supercharge audience engagement, using online technology to help you connect better with the crowd.
1. Get the audience engaged early
There are numerous ways to invite questions from your audience before your presentation begins using online media. Forums, email, social media, questionnaires and digital polls all work to identify what it is your audience wants to know, and what information will be redundant.
For example, if you’re conducting a presentation on EOFY tax time, you could poll your audience prior to the event and ask them what their biggest pain points are in completing their annual tax return. Alternatively, you could send a simple email in the days leading up to your presentation to find out what information they’re most interested in learning. This will help you to deliver the most important and relevant information to your audience on the day, and plan ahead for questions they are likely to ask later on.
Another way to achieve early engagement is by building an online community around your event, or around the topic you’ll be presenting on. Depending on your audience, you might consider platforms such as Facebook, YouTube or Instagram, or even an existing online forum. Reaching out to your audience early in this way will get them thinking about your presentation before they see it ― so that by the time question time rolls around, they’ll know exactly what they want to ask.
2. Let them ask questions anonymously
Not everybody is confident to speak up and raise a controversial opinion in front of a room full of people. That’s pretty understandable, but sadly it means we often miss out on exploring interesting topics. It also means that the presenter gets an inaccurate ‘read’ of their audience; questions and comments will most likely be asked only by those who are more extroverted and opinionated, which can skew the perceived audience response.
One way we’ve found to combat this is by encouraging people to ask their questions through interactive presentation software, which allows participants to contribute to the discussion in real time through their device. One advantage of this is the anonymity it allows; participants no longer feel shy or inhibited about being involved. This means you stop missing out on great questions, your audience will benefit from considered responses, and the quality of your presentation is even better.
3. Ask questions yourself
One of the best ways to involve your audience in a presentation is to ask questions which connect with them on a personal level. However, this can be tricky ― especially if your attendees are on the shy side like we talked about above. To avoid that dreaded silence in the crowd, take the lead by easing them into question time. Begin with some easy ones first that are not too personal or controversial. As your audience responds and participation builds, make your questions more interesting and challenging.
If you’re using interactive software such as Zeetings, you’ll be able to ask your audience questions live throughout the event using the polling functionality. This is another effective way to get them in the right mindset for participating in Q&A time following your presentation.
Want to know more about the right questions to ask your audience?
Use our free guide below, designed to help you or the presenters at your next event who want to get more out of the audience when conducting Q&A sessions.