I don't even have to ask if you ever experienced that moment, when you ask the participants in the room, or you hear someone asking, “does anyone have a question for the speaker” and you know…. there will be a cruel silence.
Most of them have questions…just no one wants to admit it or be the first. Or they think “yes, I do have a question, but …nah, not that important!”
A person cannot ask a question, if the role he/she was assigned until that moment, was mute and inactive. We are not able to change that role just by being told to do that. We need some energy. We need some activation.
A great way of activating participants (and only then you could call them that, as elaborated in my post “who do you do your events for”), is to make them talk to one another.
Conduct a mini meeting!
At any moment you can ask the participants to turn to their neighbor and discuss a specific topic, share their experiences, or talk about the findings.
The rules are simple: Introduce yourself to the person next to you and talk about XYZ. Time should be kept short.
What you will get, is a fundamental energy buzz. The more people you have the louder it will get. Some will only scratch the surface of the topic at hand, some will dive right into it. It doesn't matter. After this short time, you will find a whole new situation. The energized eyes and the listening ears of all the participants will be on the speaker and will be able to follow better, what he/she is speaking about.
If you do that task just before a Q&A, it will boost the Qs out of them. Make them talk to their neighbor about possible questions that they may have, and you will get good quality questions. The non-relevant questions will be filtered out as the one asking it will notice the lack of relevance while mentioning it to the neighbor or he/she will realize that this was already part of the talk.
The good and relevant questions will be supported by the neighbor, adding the missing pieces of it while talking about it. The question owner will be motivated to ask it, as he/she has the neighbors support.
Mini meetings can be performed at any group size. Short, crispy, energetic, interactive and FREE OF CHARGE! No budget has to be stretched for that.
Try it! You will see how it works!