As a follow up to our recent AMA webinar, “Can You Hear Me Now? Best Practices for Presenting to a Virtual Audience,” I’ve compiled some questions we didn’t have time to answer. In this blog post, I tackle questions about how to manage online Q&A during a webinar.
Q. How does the managing of Q&A work in the background? How many people are involved? What do they do?
A. Managing incoming questions and answers in the background is a crucial role that the moderator can fulfill. For a larger webinar, I strongly recommend using the chat feature in our service (see Put the Chat Feature to Work for You). Having visibility to the questions allows your moderator to filter the questions into simple categories such as: ones that can be answered on the fly by the moderator, ones that should be answered by the speaker(s) and ones that can be held until after the conference conclusion. If your moderator is planning to handle Q&A, make sure they have a good understanding of the subject matter especially as it relates to “good” questions vs. the more ancillary ones
Here are some other tips for moderators handling Q&A:
Act like the co-host. Verbally relate the questions to the speaker so he/she won’t have to sift through the list of questions (e.g., Henry, here’s a question for you…). As the moderator, you can paraphrase or combine multiple questions based on what has come through the chat window. This is also the best method if you have multiple speakers and need to assign different questions to different speakers.
Remind the audience these messages are private. This will give many people the comfort to ask “dumb questions” (even though, of course there are no dumb questions).
Answer simple questions on the fly: “Will we get a copy of the presentation?” You’ll get that one A LOT. You can also be proactive and chat this one out before, during and near the end of the webinar.
Use the “flagging” feature (right click on any chat message to flag as a question or as answered). This new feature will help you organize questions as they are being asked.
Ask your audience questions through chat. This can often prompt more engagement from your audience and in return some really good questions.
Someone in a moderator role can effectively manage the chat questions during the presentation. All it takes is attention to the chat feature to ensure the best questions don’t get missed. As you are defining the roles for your upcoming presentation keep in mind your team’s natural talents and assemble a group in which the delivery is natural, and the rapport between the speaker and moderator is comfortable.
Couldn’t attend the webinar? Listen now and let me know what other questions you have.
Next up – Shawn shares best practices for post-webinar follow up.