Hey. You’re here to find out the quickest way to run an online Q&A session. And I’m here to give it to you. If you ever listen to audiobooks, we’re going to be operating at like three times speed here. I’m going to give you the quickest way as quickly as possible. I’m chad. I’m the co-author of a book called Ask Powerful Questions: Create Conversations That Matter.
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And in this video, you will find out how to do just that in an online context here. We go.Alright. No fluff. My quickest and one of my favorite ways actually to run an online Q&A session is when I call the curiosity harvest. It doesn’t use any other software. Right? You can check out other videos. There are times where with larger groups, I might run a Q&A with google slides as an option to upvote questions. Slido is really great tool. if you’re doing a webinar on Zoom, they have a built-in feature to upvote questions, etc. If I’m doing a larger group, maybe I do that. But that’s like that’s a process. And so, this method, the quickest method to run in a really great online Q&A session is simply uses the chat. It doesn’t matter what platform you are on online. As long as you have access to the chat, you can do this. It’s super simple and I would say, you could… There’s a few variations. But the simplest version is a two-step curiosity harvest.
Step 1, give the group some silence. It is amazing how typically when we run a Q&A session we say… We get to the end of a class, a conference, a keynote, a workshop, etc and we say, “Any questions?” And all of a sudden, we just get a brick wall in our brains. Or the group gets a brick wall. Or maybe even worse, the loudest most extroverted person in the room who just thinks out loud blurts out something. Right? A much more intentional way is to give the group a little bit of silence to come up with their question. But the way that I want them to do that is in the chat. Take out their keyboard, open up the chat and type their questions. Invite them to rewind the tape, what are they naturally curious about? What question, what topic would they love to dive deeper into, what part of this person’s expertise would they love to hear? Typed into the chat but do not press enter and invite the group to not press enter. They’ve all typed their question into the chat but they haven’t pressed enter. And after about 10 to 30 seconds, just say, “On the count of 3, we’re all going to hit enter at the exact same time. 3, 2, 1, enter.” And that will be the group’s cue to blow up the chat with their questions. That is round 1. You’ve harvested individual curiosity.
Now, step 2 is to harvest the collective curiosity in the group. This makes for a way more useful practical, engaging Q&A session online. Because what you don’t want to do is have a presenter go down some wormhole or rabbit hole of one rogue curiosity, one rogue question. You want to see what is the group most curious about so that when the speaker speaks, they’re speaking to as many people as possible rather than just one. Very simply, round 2 of this, I just invite the group to go to the chat, read through all of everybody else’s questions. Take a minute to listen. I might turn on some fun, upbeat, instrumental music for this and just screen share through whatever platform or share the sound through whatever platform I’m meeting on. Zoom typically for me. As I’m sharing that music, people are reading the questions, they have one task. And that task is, I guess one and a half tasks. That task is turn on caps lock, read through everybody’s questions, and retype a question that they feel like captures a collective question or a group curiosity that they have noticed or a theme that they’ve noticed while they’re picking up. Right? My workshops, I lead a lot of workshops with some of the top organizations and universities on how to make virtual engagement easy.
Oftentimes, questions will be like, “How do I engage people who really don’t want to be there?” Or “How do I engage people who have to be there?” Because it’s a mandatory training or something like that. Or what are really quick icebreaker connection activities that I can do. How do I motivate my… These are kind of the kind of questions that are coming through. When I have people trying to turn on caps locks, harvest the theme of the group’s curiosity, type that into the chat and then press enter. Me as the host, presenter, speaker, facilitator trainer in that moment, leader; I am paying attention to only the questions that are in all caps. Because I’ve said to the group, “Tell me what you really care about.” And that is in all caps. And so then, as the host, I do 1 of 2 things. Either I just pick a couple questions and lightning round answer them or I pick one question that’s a really strong theme and I’ll actually start a breakout to say, “Hey, you collectively are much smarter than I am individually.
Let’s just take this question. Let’s say it’s how to motivate people on a remote team. And you all know some things about that that I might not that you might be able to teach each other. Let’s just do a breakout, 5 minutes. Can everybody answer that question? And then when we come back I will offer my perspective or my thoughts.” Such a dynamic way to run an online Q&A session. Way more interactive, way more participatory. I will say it works in groups of 100 or fewer really, really well. When you start to get above 100, the chat is just like explosive. You can’t really pick up a theme unless you spend a lot of time reading people’s questions. I think about this method for groups of less than 100. If you are interested in having me or my partner, Will Wise come in and run a session on how to make virtual engagement easy for you, you can find info below.
There’s also a link to a free segment of Ask Powerful Questions as well as a deck of cards that we’ve put out and created called We! Connect Cards which are loaded with really great questions. If one other alternative to running a really fun online Q&A session is that you as the host or the moderator MC pick out a handful of questions to ask the speaker or presenter that nobody else might come up with but everybody would really value, right? If you were to hold up this to you know a New York Times best-selling author, would be a really cool personal take on their life.
Hope this video was awesome. I trust it was. If you made it to this point, I am really mean this when I say have an awesome day.