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14th March 2016
One of the most difficult things to get right for a conference moderator is the fielding of questions at a Q&A session.
Depending on the subject matter and of course the speaker in question, many in the audience will want to ask questions. Of course, there are times when no questions are in the offing! That though could be down to the approach and skill of the host, speaker or chairman.
If things are handled correctly, then the Q & A session can run smoothly and seamlessly. But, we all know that there are times when things can go wrong. The three biggest issues are:
A. When the roving microphone(s) don’t work and/or the runners or assistant hosts can’t reach a questioner.
B. People making statements or mini-speeches instead of asking a question (this is so infuriating)
C. People asking more than one question, or asking a follow-up question without being asked to do so.
In the past few weeks, I’ve had to exercise some vocal muscle and stopped people in their tracks on more than one occasion. I’ve had three examples of “C” and at least one of “B”.
The “B” was at a property forum, a certain gentleman in the front row didn’t ask a question, he rambled on for at least ten to fifteen seconds – at that point, I bellowed into the microphone “what is your question Sir?” – luckily he acquiesced. Sometimes though, a chair or MC is ignored. If that’s the case, do you repeat your demand or move on to another audience member? I’ve had to do both in the past.
The “C” issue can be easier to handle. When someone asks two questions, the speaker may elect to answer only one. Or, the chair/moderator, can ask the speaker which of the two questions he or she would like to ask. Also, a polite “we only have time from one question from you, as there are others who have questions” to the questioner normally suffices. If they persist, you may have to just move on.
A great way to circumvent these issues, is to set hard and fast rules before the session. Like these:
Tags: Event Host