May 23,2024

The Correct Way to Conduct a Q&A After a Keynote.

The Correct Way to Conduct a Q&A After a Keynote.

From Linkedin:

Planning a keynote involves a ton of prep, but what about the Q&A?

Nothing deflates the energy and undermines the message of a great keynote more than an improperly planned Q&A.

I’ve seen this play out on so many occasions, but a recent example is when one of our speakers closed an event to a standing ovation from approx. 600 attendees.

As a general rule, I advise speakers to thank the audience and leave the stage after a standing ovation. If people want to chat, they’ll approach you later. This will keep the energy in the room high.

But in this example, as the speaker was making her way off the stage, someone from the AV team in the back announced that the she’d be taking questions.

Caught off guard, the speaker made her way back on stage and waited while a volunteer in the audience ran across the hall for somebody to ask a question—which was about her dating life.

It was super weird and completely changed the energy in the room. The speaker managed to smooth things over, but the damage was done. The event’s closing was spoiled by that awkward, unfiltered, and unmoderated question.

To avoid this (and in my opinion always be the case the next time you want to have a Q+A with your keynote) bring up a moderator. This could be the conference host, CEO, or a volunteer. Having a moderator manage a Q+A will create a more streamlined and conversational experience for everybody, instead of an uncontrolled rapid fire of hits and misses.

A moderator also acts as a buffer, handling inappropriate questions—like ones about the speaker’s dating life.

While organizers might assume that a speaker can handle any question randomly thrown at them, a structured Q&A with a moderator can mean the difference between an amazing experience and one attendees would rather forget.

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