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Covering Q&A best practices, this is Part 2 of a two-part series on hosting live Q&As. Read Part 1 , which outlines the benefits of a live Q&A.

 

Hosting a live Q&A requires some initial legwork, including fine-tuning your technology and thinking through your goals. Video is hands down the best medium, so it’s best to reach for that. Employees feel more engaged when they can see executives and each other.

 

Follow these live Q&A best practices when planning your event. 

Refine your setup.

Based on your locations and office setups, you may need to invest in some equipment. If your branches have conference rooms that accommodate all employees, you should have a large video screen in each one. However, maybe you have employees in a shared office space with no common room. In this case, you should have headsets and high-definition cameras for each employee. 

Choose a service.

There are plenty of remote conferencing services to stream your session and coordinate your Q&A. Prices and features vary. It’s important to understand what matters most to your company. For example, some livestreaming options offer detailed analytics that can help you pin down what’s working and where there are opportunities for growth. 

Pick participants.

Switch it up based on your goal. Regularly including new participants can keep things fresh and interesting for your audience. One month, you may want your CEO to answer employees’ questions about a new product. The next, two teams who’ll be working together can ask each other questions. 

Nail down a detailed topic.

Topics like “the state of the company” are too broad and will lead to a less lively Q&A. Send participants a note ahead of time, telling them what the session will address and that they’ll be encouraged to ask questions. Make sure your speaker sets the stage for a robust dialogue. Consider keeping opening remarks to around 15 minutes. 

Come up with questions.

No matter how well you prep your participants, there’s a risk that there will be some awkward silences during the Q&A. Tee up some thought-provoking questions in case your audience is slow to speak up. This will encourage others to join in and promote a comfortable atmosphere.

 

Download our .futurology report to see why live video streaming needs to be part of your marketing and engagement mix.

Deborah Blumberg has more than 15 years’ experience writing business and finance topics for The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, The Christian Science Monitor and Newsday. She was a Knight Center fellow and a Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism fellow and is a founder and co-president of the Texas chapter of American Society of Journalists and Authors.

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