In order for a webinar to be successful, it’s extremely important to engage the audience. Also, attendees who feel as if they were fully engaged with the event are more likely to sign up for future webinars. One of the most well known best presenting practices is the inclusion of several Q&A sessions in each webinar. Throughout the webinar, attendees are invited to submit questions related to the general topic or specific content of the conference. At prescheduled times, the presenters take a few minutes to answer some of the questions. This process helps with engaging an audience in a number of ways.
Firstly, it gives attendees something to do other than just sitting there and being talked at for an hour by a disembodied voice. If people are allowed to submit questions and can hear them being answered, they feel as if they’re actually taking part in and contributing to the event, rather than just observing it. By thinking up questions to ask, they also get to use their brains for more than just absorbing information.
If the web conferencing software has a function where attendees can 'raise their hand’, Q&A sessions can be even more interesting. People can ask the panelists their questions during the Q&A. While this does put the presenters on the spot, as they won’t have seen the questions beforehand, it can make the event more engaging and valuable. By coming up with relevant, informational answers off the top of their heads, the panelists will be proving the width and depth of their expertise to those in attendance.
However the questions are asked, Q&A sessions break up the monotony of a conventional webinar format. With audio conferences, there’s not much that can be done with the format. It’s usually just a case of a few people talking and everyone else listening. A Q&A session is a way to add variety to proceedings while also continuing to inform and entertain everyone present.
It’s a good idea to spend several webinars experimenting with Q&A sessions before deciding upon the best way to include them. Try varying the number of sessions in each webinar and finding different ways for attendees to submit their questions. Once it’s been decided how best to integrate them into a webinar, be consistent with the presentation of Q&As in order to see levels of audience engagement soar over time.
What tips do you recommend for Q&A in webinars?