Getting the Q&A going, part 3: Dealing with time pressure

By Juraj Holub, Marketing and Content Manager at Slido

Juraj HolubPicture 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 3 of 4: Dealing with time pressure

If you think about it, it is not feasible to expect 300 participants to each ask a question during the five to ten minutes dedicated to a Q&A session. By allocating such a small amount of time to the only part of a presentation where the audience can give their input creates time pressure and, unless a question an attendee asks is useful to the entire room, can be a waste of time for the majority of the audience.

An easy way round this is to dedicate a quarter of the presentation time to your Q&A sessions. For example, for a 40-minute session, allocate 30 minutes for the speech itself and 10 minutes for the Q&A.

Another solution is to use an event tech platform that allows delegates to submit questions so the focus of the Q&A can be entirely around the subjects the majority of the audience would like to discuss, maximising the effectiveness of the session.

Tomorrow, encouraging your delegates. Previous: Fear of looking stupid; Optimising the format.

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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