If you have ever attended, participated or hosted a Q&A session at an event, then you know how plain and simple boring it can get. In most events where there is a panel and an audience, the only interaction between the two is through the questions and answers, often at the very end of the entire discussion. Some smart event planners inculcate the questions within the discussions by infrequently or frequently scattering them in slots. It is absolutely easy to allow questions and answers after every speaker in the panel has had their say. This will allow continued engagement between panel and audience. However, that could impair the narrative of the event or the discussion if there isn’t someone with a very firm control or extensive knowledge about the subjects being talked about.
Here are some tips to generate continued engagement between panel and audience.
- The questions being asked must not be completely scripted. Many event organizers have a prepared set of questions that they would want to answer or issues that they would shed light on. Those questions are smartly generated from the audience or from within the panel itself. It is absolutely futile to indulge in such an exercise. The questions that the panel wishes to discuss may not be the questions that bother the audience at large. Even if there are some chosen to highlight those issues, the rest of the audience may not even relate or find that to be very important. The biggest problem with questions at such events is that they are too obvious. The questions need to be intriguing. If a large part of the audience is already aware of the answer or of the question begs an obvious answer, then the rest of the audience will feel disconnected or worse, disinterested.
- An event will have an exact plan. The proceedings or the various discussions must go on according to a certain narrative. However, there should be enough scope for that narrative to be derailed. Some of the best events are those where the audience can dictate or influence what would be talked about. When the audience starts to get their questions answered or can have the panel talk about the essentials that the audience thinks are the most important would always ensure continued engagement.
- Finally, a panel must always try to ignite opinions or trigger debates among the audience itself with their responses. That way, the message is lucid and more convincing. That would inevitably lead to better and continued engagement.