3 Key Tips to Hosting A Successful Q&A Online in 2020
By the end of this article, you’ll be able to make use of these 3 facets of an online Q&A session:
- How to prepare for a Q&A online
- How to order and display your questions
- How to share your answers online
If you’re about to give a presentation nowadays, chances are that you’ll be hosting it and your Q&A online.
As good as a virtual Q&A can be for clearing up a topic or even as an online icebreaker, any Q&A session has the potential for piercing silence and your audience’s awkward glances at their shoes.
Online Q&As are quite different from in-person ones, so it’s hard to know how to prepare for them and execute them. Well, AhaSlides has hosted many a Q&A online through our interactive presentation software.
Following the 3 key tips below is your ticket to hosting a perfectly balanced, perfectly engaged Q&A session.
3 Tips to Hosting a Great Q&A Online
Tip #1: Prepare for It!
Always a bountiful source of whimsical quotes, Abraham Lincoln once said “give me 6 hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first 4 sharpening the axe“.
You may not be felling any trees by hosting a Q&A online, but you’ll certainly be trying to topple the barriers between you and your audience. And, to do this, you’ll need to prepare.
Now, you’ll obviously never be able to predict exactly what your audience is going to ask, but you can get a pretty good idea by finding out what they want to take away from your Q&A session. A great way to do this is by using interactive software like AhaSlides.
A word cloud, like the image above, can give you a much better understanding of the topics that your audience wants to discuss in the Q&A. It asks your audience what they’d like to talk about and then lays out all of their answers in one grid. The ones with identical wording appear large and at the centre, revealing which topics are the most popular.
Doing this before the Q&A begins gives you time to prepare for the questions that your audience most want answered later.
Click here for more advice on how to set up the perfect word cloud.
Tip #2 — Order and Display it Professionally
Putting some time into the display and organisation of your Q&A online gives the audience a chance to see what’s been asked and what’s been answered.
Again, it’s easy to do this using AhaSlides. There’s a dedicated Q&A slide (like in the image above) that gives you full moderating power over your audience’s questions.
Here are a few of the ways that a Q&A slide keeps everything neat, tidy and most importantly, engaging:
- Display and sorting — A Q&A slide is a great way to keep everyone on the same page. All the audience’s questions are displayed for everyone to see and are automatically sorted into categories.
- Pinning queries — Maybe you’re running out of time on your Q&A but the answers still keep flooding in. Pinning any of the questions is a great way to ensure none get lost in the mix.
- Audience upvoting — This feature lets the audience ‘thumbs up’ any of the queries that they, too, would like an answer to. The more popular a query, the higher it is placed on the ‘top questions’ table.
- Anonymity — Much of your audience will be embarassed to ask questions — that’s just the reality of Q&A. Allowing your participants to ask anonymously is so important to addressing questions that may never come to light in an in-person setting.
Remember: hosting a Q&A online means that your questions can come in at any time.
This means that if you’re holding a presentation, your audience can ask you questions throughout. This keeps the flow of the presentation alive and allows audience members to submit questions as soon as they pop into their heads.
Dedicate at least 1/5th of your allotted time to the Q&A (Guy Kawasaki actually recommends 2/3rds!) Or, spend a few minutes after each section engaging with the audience via a brief Q&A that ensures they’re all keeping up.
What if you’re not hosting your Q&A online? What if it’s an in-person event? Well, you can still make use of online features for better display and organisation.
Allow your audience to submit questions to an online Q&A canvas. Having these on the same screen means you can address each of them individually and methodically.
Want to get right to it? Find out how to set up a Q&A slide with AhaSlides here.
Tip #3 — Share it Online!
If you’re restricted by time or simply want to leave your Q&A answers out there for your audience to come back to at any time, you have the option with AhaSlides to share your presentation and your Q&A online.
The trick to doing this is to use your computer to record your audio answers of questions that pop up in your Q&A. After that, use AhaSlides to make a slide for each answer, with the question as the title and your embedded audio response.
This way, you can manage the questions and remove the duplicates. Your audience will also have an organised overview of what’s been fielded throughout the session and will have a reliable source for reference after it’s done.
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