Getting the Q&A going, part 2: Optimising the format

By Juraj Holub, Marketing and Content Manager at Slido

Juraj Holub
Picture the scene: The presenter finishes their session, the moderator steps on stage and asks the audience “are there any questions?” Tumbleweed rolls by as delegates shuffle nervously in their chairs. Eventually, the polite moderator asks an obligatory question and the session comes to a rather anti-climactic end.

Anyone who has ever organised a conference will know this scene well. In fact, during a recent client event, over 50% of event professionals cited a lack of questions from the audience as the biggest barrier when looking to create audience interaction at events.

As event organisers, it is our job to try to combat the fear of the Q&A and encourage our delegates to participate, yet this always seems to be easier said than done. So why don’t participants want to put their hands in the air and get involved?

Part 2 of 4: Optimising the format

Most presentations at conferences are one-way monologues where the speaker delivers a tightly choreographed performance to drive certain points to the audience. It is very much like telling a story. And, as you can imagine, people usually don’t ask questions in the middle of someone’s story.

While it might seem natural to wait for the speaker to finish what they are saying, the chances are that the audience will be disengaged by the time you open up the floor for questions. By experimenting with the timing of the Q&A, for example opening up the floor for questions in the middle of a presentation, you will be able to draw people into the story and you will see a rise in audience interaction.

Tomorrow, dealing with time pressure. Previous: Fear of looking stupid.

Martin Fullard

Martin Fullard is the Deputy Editor at Conference News. Formerly a web editor at a national newspaper in the Middle East and motoring journalist.

Martin Fullard

Author

Martin Fullard

Martin Fullard is the Deputy Editor at Conference News. Formerly a web editor at a national newspaper in the Middle East and motoring journalist.

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