Spotlight for Career Services ProfessionalsFebruary 20, 2013
by Kevin Grubb
Consider the following scenario: You’re hosting a panel or solo speaker event. The room is full and the content is rich. Like a good host, you save some time for Q&A from the audience. Your panel or speaker wraps up on time and you turn it over to the crowd to get their questions.
And … silence.
Has this ever happened to you?
As career and professional development educators, speaker or panel events often fall under our purview and can be effective ways to bring new ideas to our populations. How can we maximize the engagement of the eager and curious minds in the audience?
Consider live, text-in Q&A at your events. We’ve tried it at Villanova with one of our largest solo speaker events on campus, and so far, we’ve loved it. Why? Live, text-in Q&A has helped us solve three major problems with traditional Q&A engagement at our event:
There are many audience polling providers to research and consider. After we set up our poll, we provide a half-sheet of instructions to the audience about how to text in their questions. (See the image below for our instructions.)
Managing the live, text-in Q&A is fairly simple: We have one staff member emcee the event, and another—who serves as the moderator—logs in to our account and monitors the questions that come in. As it gets close to the Q&A time, the moderator writes the questions on a sheet of paper and passes them to the emcee to facilitate the discussion.
Of course, if the audience wants to ask a live question, we allow for it as well.
Have you used technology to communicate with an audience at any of your live events? I would love to hear your best practices in a comment below.
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