Many important conference calls are most successful with a question and answer session at the end of the presentation. This provides the opportunity for meeting attendees to expand upon ideas that were delivered by the call host or presenters. As well as, inquire about any content that wasn’t fully explained or covered.
However, a Q&A session is not a free for all. Make sure you’re prepared to take questions in an orderly fashion that benefits your participants. No one enjoys calls where participants talk over each other. Or those calls in which some attendees get time for questions while others do not. Consider your Q&A plan strategically so all attendees take something useful away from the session, instead of leaving frustrated or bored.
Question and Answer Session Best Practices
Firstly, you will want to understand how the conference call technology works so your event goes seamlessly. And subsequently, you’ll also want to prepare how you approach taking questions and answers so your audience gets the most out of the event.
Run several test calls so you know that you can manage the Q&A call technology smoothly. Or, designate a different call host who can manage the Q&A while you speak as a guest speaker.
When you’re ready for your question and answer session to begin, let your callers know that everyone will be muted. Then, dial 1* or mute all callers in the Call Manager if they aren’t muted already.
Make your attendees feel heard while maintaining order
Announce in advance how many questions you will be taking, and in which order. This way, callers can anticipate when they will be speaking and you can manage expectations if the end time is nearing.
Keep questions short and sweet
Gently remind your call participants that Q&A time is about acquiring more information, not using their question as a platform to hijack the call. Encourage attendees to keep questions short and on-topic. If they have a larger question or issue that needs to be addressed, offer to discuss it once the call is complete. Or, suggest that a separate call or online meeting is scheduled to tackle that subject matter.
Choosing which questions to answer
There are several methods in which to take questions.
- Respond in order, straight down the participant list on your screen.
- Request that participants submit questions in advance. This way you have time to filter and prepare your response.
- Select questions randomly
These three techniques are all valid. Just make sure you’re clear on which one you’re using before you’re put on the spot in the heat of the moment. And which is most appropriate for the size and subject matter of your conference call.
Stay on topic
Before you open the question and answer session, suggest a few key areas that need the most attention. For example, you might explain, “We have time for questions on Cats and Dogs only. For questions on Birds, please email me after the session to discuss.” This keeps the session organized and ensures the participants are getting the information they came to receive.
Running question and answer sessions on your conference calls can be a great way to connect with your participants and spread knowledge to all members of the group. As long as you’re organized and focused, your sessions will enrich your event for all who attend!