Question and Answer sessions (“Q&A”) are one of the best ways to engage your audience during a virtual event. It allows you to interact in real-time with your audience while providing value. Q&A can help your speakers to build rapport, engage your audience, and influence the overall perception of your event.

Q&A Session Checklist

Here are our top suggestions for Speakers to have fantastic Q&A sessions during your virtual events.

  1. Video On
  2. Manners
  3. Re-state
  4. Clarify
  5. Show (vs Tell)
  6. Recap
  7. Transition 

1. Videos On

Screen Share Off

Turn off screen sharing and switch to video during Q&A. Seeing the bigger video of Speakers makes it feel more personal for the attendees. Speakers or Panelists can switch to sharing your screen if you’re showing the attendees something or demonstrating a feature.

2. Manners

First Names & Thank You’s

Start by thanking the person by name for their question. You can also say “great question” to give yourself a little more time to prepare a good answer (e.g. Thank you for that question Nancy! A lot of people have asked something similar before. It brings up a lot of issues.) Answering with first names and thanking the person asking the question helps build rapport, personalize the answer and demonstrate you actually understand their situation.

3. Restate…

The Person’s Question

Always try to re-state the person’s question back to them in your own words. Again, this shows you’re listening and can help prevent misunderstanding. For example, you might think they’re asking one question but they’re actually asking something completely different. 

4. Clarify

Ask Clarifying Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions so that the audience understands the question too. This will also help to create space for Speakers to construct a more effective response.

5. Show (vs Tell)

Show Examples of What You’re Discussing

Many people are visual learners who learn by experience. Showing live examples of what you are talking about can help substantially increase their learning comprehension. Please take this opportunity to actually SHOW them what you’re talking about. This can be incredibly helpful. It’s okay if it takes a little bit longer to answer the question. That’s why it’s useful to get some questions gathered beforehand so you can have your materials ready to go during Q&A time.

6. Recap

Summarize The Question & Your Answer

Always try to recap what you’ve discussed once you’ve finished answering a question. This would include re-stating the question, stating what makes the question important, summarizing your answer and thanking the questioner again asking a question in the first place. Bonus points for saying their name again.

7. Transitions

Ask For More Questions or Move On

Prevent those uncomfortably quiet periods in your sessions during Q&A by practicing transitions. Speakers should practice asking co-hosts or panelists for more questions they may be seeing from the audience after they’ve finished answering the question. Another option for Speakers is to use the ending of the question to transition into the next portion of the presentation.

Q&A Is A Powerful Engagement Tool

Following this advice will help your audience to feel more engaged with your Speakers and ultimately help them have a better experience with your event. If you’re interested in learning more, attend our free on-demand webinar on How To Run Successful Virtual Events.


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Author: Marvin McTaw

Marvin McTaw is the Chief Executive Officer at Sched. He's primarily responsible for helping create exceptional experiences for the Sched team, event organizers and users. Marvin loves conferences and festivals (especially food festivals!). His favorite event is San Diego Comic-Con due to his lifelong interest in comic books and science fiction.