Are you making the most of your Q&A sessions?

Meetings have changed. While the days of in-person conference room brainstorming sessions and company-wide town hall conferences are slowly returning for some, others are simply not there yet. Furthermore, more and more companies are allowing full remote work. At this point, logging into your online team meeting is an all too familiar practice. And while in this instance familiarity may not breed contempt, it may breed boredom – or worse, indifference.

The battle for attention

A recent study showed that in 2020, 92% of employees confessed to multitasking during online meetings (otter.ai). How do we win the battle for attention? By hosting more engaging meetings. And a well thought out Q&A session could be just the thing you need to have a more effective virtual meeting.

Why is Q&A so important?

A good Q&A session can give insight and perspective on the status of your company depending on how you set it up. Sprinkling questions throughout the meeting also keeps meeting goers engaged. The following is a list of 5 best practices when setting up Q&A:

1. Make it easy

Up to 15% of participants wouldn’t know how to ask a question if they wanted to. Additionally, 25% of company-wide meeting participants feel as though town hall meetings are staged, giving them no incentive to ask questions. A great incentive for participants to ask questions is making the process easy. Give attendees multiple avenues to ask questions (see number 3) and be sure to make use of multilingual platforms like KUDO that let participants ask questions in whatever language they prefer.

2. Ice breakers

Ice breaker questions can make a great start to meetings both big and small. For smaller meetings, having creative open-ended ice breaker questions are best. These questions sometimes wield interesting answers and encourage everyone’s participation. For larger meetings, ice breaker questions can be asked using voting or polling features, that way everyone can see the outcome immediately.

3. Give options

Give participants multiple ways to ask questions. A great start is encouraging participants to submit their questions before the meeting. This way, meeting participants are not only looking forward to their questions being asked, but it also gives you time to develop a well thought out answer. Having a live chat devoted to questions is another great way to keep participants engaged.

4. Turn-based question asking

For Q&A sessions where you want to bring the participant asking the question onto the floor of the meeting, make sure you use the turn-based question asking feature of your platform. This way, everyone gets a chance to ask their question, and there is a level of organization when it comes to the order in which these questions are being asked.

5. Allow questions to be submitted anonymously

A recent study shows that almost half of meeting participants would ask a question during a town hall if it were anonymous (allhands.com). Giving participants the option to submit questions anonymously encourages an honest dialogue, sometimes revealing opportunities or issues that may have never come to light. Anonymous questions give employers and team leaders an opportunity to get a better idea what their teams are really thinking.

These are just a few best practices when it comes to making your virtual meetings more effective. Furthermore, all 5 tips can also be carried over into in person and hybrid meeting formats with the right amount of preparation. Be sure not to miss out on important questions and critical feedback from your team by taking the time to plan your next meeting’s Q&A session.