How to Host a Successful Q&A Session with Your Industry Influencers
Mar 24, 2022 2:14:28 PM
These sessions work well as part of a larger event, or they can be the main focus. These days, as virtual events are becoming more necessary and easier to facilitate, you can now host Q&As live or online. This flexibility enables you to reach a much broader audience and host more events thanks to lower operating costs.
But, as anyone who's attended or hosted a Q&A session can tell you, it's tricky to get the flow of the event right. Guests may not ask many questions, or speakers can easily get off-topic. Fortunately, we're here to help. This guide will illustrate the best practices for running a successful and engaging Q&A session. Whether you're doing it live, as a hybrid event, or virtually, here's what you need to know about hosting Q&A events.
Q&A stands for "questions and answers." During these sessions, a speaker will take questions from the audience and answer them. Typically, Q&A sessions happen as part of a larger event. For example, perhaps there's a panel discussion about a specific topic. After each presentation, the speakers can open the floor to the audience to ask questions related to the content.
However, you can host a Q&A-focused event as well. Often, this option works well for industry-level events, where industry members can ask questions from insiders or high-level individuals within the market. Alternatively, you can open the session to the general public so that they can learn more about a specific topic from experts within the field.
Whether you're hosting a live or virtual Q&A, here are the top reasons to have this type of event.
Typically, the issues you can experience during a Q&A include:
So, knowing the problems that can occur, here are the best ways to prevent them altogether.
Moderators play a crucial role in a Q&A session because they can cut off guests or speakers and move the event along as necessary. Moderators can also guide the questions to ensure audience engagement. For example, if no one has a question, the moderator can ask from a pre-written list of Q&A session questions.
While you don't have to host a mock Q&A with each speaker, giving them a list of questions beforehand is good. This way, they can prepare succinct answers ahead of time and won't stumble with their responses during the live session. When doing this, make sure to throw a few creative or unusual questions so that speakers can anticipate them if necessary.
There are a couple of ways to screen questions before they're asked. During a virtual Q&A, you can have attendees submit questions to the moderator while the speakers are talking. During a live event, the moderator can discuss the question with the audience member before handing them the mic.
Another option is to have guests submit written questions before the event and during intermission. This allows attendees to think about what they want to ask without the pressure of everyone watching and waiting.
If a guest asks an unrelated question, tell speakers they don't have to answer. Similarly, if a question starts to turn into a debate, the speaker or moderator should shut it down quickly. Even if the debate is lively and upbeat, it can slow down the event's momentum.
An easy way to keep speakers and guests focused is to limit their time. You can even use a countdown timer to ensure that responses are more efficient. That said, be sure to enforce the time limits. If necessary, you can come back to a question later on if guests want to know more about it.
Sometimes, your guests may only have a couple of Q&A session questions for the speaker. In other instances, there may be too many questions for the allotted time. Either way, you have to be flexible and adapt to the circumstances. If the audience is awfully quiet, the moderator can ask questions or help change topics. If there are too many questions, screening them can help you prioritize and organize them effectively.
As we mentioned, you can host a Q&A live or online, and each option comes with different challenges and obstacles. Let's break down the various factors to pay attention to before your event.
When hosting a hybrid event, you have to consider the logistical elements of both live and virtual events. However, some unique factors to think about include:
Fortunately, a virtual event platform like 6Connex works perfectly as a hybrid event solution. You can take care of these logistical issues and more without disrupting your event.
Don't get overwhelmed by hosting a virtual or hybrid Q&A. At 6Connex, we can assist you with the logistics and planning so that your event goes off without a hitch. Contact us today for more insight and expertise on virtual venues, events, Q&A sessions, and more!
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