Where did I read good advice for structuring q&a sessions for a talk?
August 6, 2014 10:24 AM   Subscribe

I think I was at a science fiction convention once and they had guidelines on asking questions during the questions and answers part of a session. It had a list of things to consider such as: don't use your turn to comment rather than ask a question. I'd really love to find it again so that I can use it for other events, and also have session chairs know the guidelines so that they can encourage good q&a sessions.
posted by bleary to Human Relations (3 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I still haven't found it, and I still can't remember which con it was. Windycon? Penguicon? Duckon? Capricon?

I did, however, find a blog post on the topic, Beter Q&A Sessions.

Which has some good information. but, I'd really like to find the content I remember, because I think it had more than what was in the post. Or maybe I'm filling in gaps in memory with what I thought happened and what I thought happened was cooler. 'ware the Suck Fairy.
posted by bleary at 1:24 PM on August 6, 2014

Best answer: Probably not the resource you're looking for, but you might enjoy this policy on good vs. bad questions for the Trampoline Hall lecture series.

To paraphrase Misha Glouberman's main points:

1. Questions have to be questions, not comments. And everyone knows what you're up to when you try to pass off a comment as a question with "shouldn't we consider the importance of...[my opinion]?" etc.
2. Two-part questions are actually just two questions. Pick one.
3. Questions should come from a place of curiosity, not pride (i.e. the Q&A period should not be treated as an opportunity to display your smarts).
posted by beatrice rex at 1:58 PM on August 6, 2014 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks beatrice rex, that has some of what I remember. Perhaps the con committee used that as a source!

My motivation is to help conference organizers that want to improve Q&A sessions. They are currently putting together ideas and techniques. The most useful will be verbal scripts to give to session chairs and speakers, i think. They've got some scripts worked out.

They are also considering whether some technical tools would help -- use something like google moderator, etc. I think that idea is going to be dropped, though I like it for the purpose of helping people who watch remotely submit questions. Maybe we can think that through as a nice-to-have.

One of my friends had a very insightful comment -- the conference tends to use standing mics. This makes it harder for the moderator to interrupt. If the moderator has a hand held mic, the moderator can interrupt by pulling hte mic away. I guess someone on a sound board could do something similar.
posted by bleary at 8:29 AM on August 11, 2014

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