Question and Answer conferences can go either one of two ways. Either there is a deadly silence or they become adversarial battles between the audience and top brass.
We have put together 7 tips to help you manage the discussion and make it a pleasant and productive session for all concerned:
- Always try to channel the questions through the host to a panel. A good conference host will demonstrate their independence by gently challenging the panel and by ensuring that the members of the panel answer the questions honestly.
- Mix the questions up. Mix business questions with ‘about you’ questions like what did each panel member have as their first job?
- Prepare questions beforehand. The host can have these on cards and can start a debate or switch to a new topic easily.
- If you can be confident that there won’t be anyone in the audience that will hog the microphone then you could consider using a ‘catch box’ which helps to inject energy into the audience and means you can help to get more people involved, much more quickly.
- You could consider having delegate’s text their thoughts and questions in during the conference, or you could use a hashtag through social media for people to use.
- It is important to allow the host to change the discussion amongst those from people in the audience. For example, if there was a conversation about pay and this was stuck on topic for a while, the host should look to ask a question about working environment to move the subject on.
If you’d like some more free advice ahead of you upcoming conference, do get in touch with our team at Team Building London today.