What is a live stream Q&A?

A Q&A (or Questions and Answers) session can bring a Live Streaming event to life. It takes your viewer from a "being preached at" experience to a dynamic, interactive experience. Q&A sessions are not always appropriate for all types of live streams, e.g Webinars or Global Live Streamed Conferences, where they do work, they add a lot of value.

  • Live Q&A from the 'studio' audience
  • As a webcam interaction during a Virtual Meeting Q&A over a platform such as Zoom or Teams
  • In comments sent to the host or a back-stage moderator

A photograph of professional live stream Q and A session during a conference.

Sound is important during Q&A sessions

We've said it before, and we'll say it again... "An audience will forgive an out of focus picture, but they'll never forgive bad sound'. During Hybrid Live Streams (ones where you have both a studio audience and a digital or virtual audience watching your live stream), a Q&A session can work well, but only if all of your audiences can hear the question...

Audience microphones are often forgotten or worse, not used properly. Even if the people in the room can hear the question from another audience member, without a microphone, your online live stream audience cannot. That leaves your virtual audience with an awkward silence followed by the need to guess the question from the answer (Unless you' running a game show) it's best to ensure all questions are spoken into a microphone. And this is important to both audiences where you have a lot of people in the room and are using a PA (Public Address speaker and amplifier) system.

Managing the audio is easy with some pre-planning. Allocate someone the role of microphone runner during your live stream, and ensure your presenter coordinates the Q&A with them. This means the presenter confidently tells the people in the audience to wait before speaking until they're handed the microphone.

A photograph of a professional live streaming microphone.

Ways to keep your Q&A looking professional

Run your Q&A within scheduled times or maximum duration

Q&A sessions can run on for a long time, which may set your overall schedule back or add costly extra time to the live streaming event. Mitigate this problem by using a live schedule management tool (such as our Concept LIVE Production Schedule Clock) or by using a timer for each question.

Avoid long periods reading questions whilst you are Live

It can be tempting and seem appropriate to quietly read a list of questions when it comes to the Q&A part of the Live Streaming schedule. This can feel awkward or dull for your viewer (they're effectively just watching you read your laptop) and puts pressure on you to skim through questions (which your viewers may feel is a vetoing process!). Instead, announce the Q&A session in earlier moments during the live stream, asking your viewer to send you questions in the chat facility. Then, during a break or whilst VT plays out, you can select questions to read out. This will make the process appear seamless to your viewer and take the pressure off you!

Where possible, have a back-stage moderator to handle the incoming questions and feedback

The most preferable way of handling Q&A sessions is by using a back-stage moderator who can pickup the questions, research and push them to the presenter along with a good answer or information to support the presenter's response. This ensures your presenter avoids the issue of pausing for long periods to choose questions and scroll through chat, whilst also guaranteeing the answer they give is accurate and true.

A photograph of a Professional Live Streaming event.

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