Run a live Q&A session that makes a difference
If you’re hosting an important conference call and choose to run a question and answer session during the call, make sure you’re prepared to take questions in an orderly fashion that benefits your participants. No one enjoys calls where callers talk over each other, or those in which some people get question time while others do not due to time constraints. Consider your Q&A plan carefully so everyone takes something useful away from the session (instead of leaving frustrated or bored)!
Not only will you want to understand how the conference call technology works so your event goes seamlessly, but you’ll also want to prepare how you approach taking questions and answers so your audience gets the most out of the event.
How to run a Q&A session with Conference Calling
First things first, 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.
- When callers have a questions, ask them to dial 5* to “raise their hands.” You’ll see that they have a question next to their name in the Call Manager.
- If a caller is muted and you’d like to take their question, unmute them in the Call Manager. They will hear a notification, “Line Unmuted” and know it’s their turn to speak. You may also want to consider announcing to the group, “John, I’ll take your question now.”
- Once they’ve asked their question, you’re welcome to mute them again before you answer.
- Once you’ve finished the answer, you can repeat this process with the next question-holder until all questions are answered or until your time is up.
Our top tips for success
Make your participants feel heard while still maintaining order
- Announce in advance how many questions you will be taking, or in which order you will take questions. That way, callers can anticipate when they will be speaking and you can manage expectations if you don’t have time for every question.
Keep questions short & sweet
- Encourage your participants 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.
How to choose which questions to take
- There are several methods in which to take questions. You can go in order, straight down the list on your screen. You can also ask participants to submit questions in advance, and you can filter based on which questions will provide most value to most people. You can select questions randomly. These are all valid techniques – 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.
Stay on topic for best results
- 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.”
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!