Surviving Your First Webinar Q&A

Submitted by: Ashley Speagle

If you’re new to webinars, the Q&A session may seem like open season for the host. Following your perfect presentation, strangers on the other side begin a live interrogation, a lengthy inquisition, a thorough examination of everything you just said.

But actually, the Q&A isn’t really about you. It’s all about creating more value for your audience, increasing engagement and capturing that data for better lead-scoring.

Read ahead to resolve your concerns and quiet your biggest fears about surviving your first webinar Q&A.

How Much Time Do You Need?
Even the most engaging, compelling webinars can’t compete with audiences’ short attention spans. To retain attendees all the way to your call to action, you must create a time limit for your entire event and the Q&A session.

Unless your webinar is a Q&A-only event, webinars perform well within an hour (with 15 minutes included for the Q&A). Set an agenda for your presentation and Q&A to give yourself a guideline and give registrants an idea of what’s ahead.

Didn’t get to all of the questions? Great, you now have an opportunity to create a bonus piece of content (via blog post, video, Twitter hashtag, etc.) for an extended webinar Q&A that increases engagement and reach.

For large events, you probably won’t take every question and stay within your time limit. A Q&A moderator is helpful here to comb through question submissions and choose the best for the conversation.

What if No One Asks a Question?
Seed questions are included in most webinar best practices because they are your rescue mission for slow, silent or off-topic Q&A sessions. Craft questions that will not only provide added value to your webinar but also stimulate conversation.

To better guarantee user-submitted questions, promote the Q&A beforehand. Ask for questions at registration, or give advanced notice that users can ask an expert anything.

You may need to change the way you ask for questions and start earlier. Try asking for reactions, instead, and plant moments of interaction prior to the Q&A to halt the audience’s movement into a passive state.

Finally, make sure the audience knows how to ask a question. Will you check Twitter for questions? Can users chat questions at any time? Will you take callers? Explain the ground rules.

What if You Don’t Know the Answer?
When you’re dealt a brain twister, a controversial question or a query that requires a more in-depth response, it’s OK to say you don’t know the answer. Here’s why that works in your favor:

• It creates an opportunity to follow up with individuals via email or with your entire audience on social media. Post-event reports supply you with contacts and a history of what questions attendees asked, or use an event hashtag to follow up on Twitter.
• It contributes to the authentic experience of the dialogue. By not answering a question, you avoid an over-rehearsed appearance, and you prove you’re not dodging the hard questions.
• It brings other speakers into the conversation. A panel of various experts from your company should be on hand to collaborate on questions outside of your specialization.
• It can be a springboard for engagement. Use your survey and poll features to ask the audience for their opinions on the question at hand.
• It helps you stay within your time limit. Instead of taking up too much time considering, debating and passing the question around, simply direct the user to another resource.

Why a Q&A Should Never Be the End of a Webinar
At this point, users’ reactions, comments and questions have shaped your webinar in ways that may stray from your main message. By following the Q&A with a quick recap and call to action, you take back control and end on a stronger note.

After all, this is your final impression. Make it count.

To guarantee a professional first and final impression on your target audience, learn more about PGi’s webcasting and webinar software solutions now.

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