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
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

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]

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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