People of all ages at events can be intimidated to ask questions depending on the subject and the audience. There are several ways in which we will outline in this article about how to make the Q&A less intimidating and more interactive at a conference, meeting, seminar or any other event. This could be a helpful read for both speakers and participants.
Open the floor…but give directions
At the beginning of your presentation ask each participant to prepare one to two questions during the event. If you start off the event asking everyone to do something specific by preparing at least one question, it can be more effective than simply telling the entire group to ask questions if they choose.
By using an application like Beekast, your audience won’t have to rely on their memory to ask the question at the end of the presentation during the Q&A. As with Beekast, you can type you question into the app and submit it for review immediately after you think of the question. You no longer need to keep a spare pen and notepad on hand during your conference!
Start a discussion
If you are not pressed for time and few people are asking questions about the content of your presentation, then start a discussion. Ask for opinions and thoughts about a particular topic. If the venue of the conference is small, tell participants to simply speak their mind without worrying about raising their hand. You can also open the floor for discussion if you are asked a particularly challenging/controversial question by an audience member. If you are still faced with a hesitant crowd, you can consider calling people out in the audience asking if they have any thoughts. If someone asks not to respond, then don’t push him or her but nomally people will start to open up.
Pass the mic
Depending on your audience, you might be able to pass the mic off to someone in the audience to answer a question that was posed. You don’t have to pretend that you know all the answers. Especially if you are in a room full of experts in the crowd If you receive a question you can’t answer, respond that you would love to get back to them and let them know later on, but also ask if anyone else in the audience knows the solution to a technical question.
Prizes make people happy!
Consider splurging on some low-cost useful or joke gifts for audience members who ask and answer questions. Handing out a t-shirt, company coffee mug, or a mini tablet is a sure way to excite the audience. People love incentives and if there are prizes involved, you will definitely be able to see an increase in the attention span of your audience members. Make a game out of the Q&A to increase interactivity and make sure no one gets sleepy or bored.
Check out Beekast! A comprehensive web and mobile solution to promote, manage, and bring life to your events (conferences, meetings, seminars, conventions, workshops…)