How to Run an Interactive Q&A For Your Clients

Join Charles Clark, Marketing Director of BOMA, and Heather Smith, FCA, FCCA, FICB, as they discuss the benefits to running virtual Q&A sessions for your clients and how best to do so. This webinar is packed with practical and proven advice.

Webinar Agenda:

  • Understanding the purpose of a Q&A
  • How to select topics to cover
  • The tools and technology you'll need
  • What sort of frequency you should be running them
  • Preparing yourself to present
  • How to run the Q&A effectively so your clients get the most from it
  • How to encourage participation and engagement
  • How to follow up effectively after the session
  • How you can repurpose the content from the session

NB: You can also read a full transcript of this session below.

 

 

 

‘How to Run an Interactive Q&A For Your Clients'Transcript

 

Charles Clark:

Hello everyone and welcome to our webinar today. What we're covering today is basically how to run an interactive Q&A with your clients. It's something that we've been talking about a lot, and we thought it was high time to do actually a webinar on it. I'm joined today by Heather Smith, who has run a lot of these in her time, so welcome Heather. Couldn't think of a better person to have on today.

Heather Smith:

Thank you for having me here today, Charles, really looking forward to talking about this and speaking with the community about what their experiences are. Oh, look, we've got two of you now.

Charles Clark:

Yeah. Sorry, that's just one of the technical elements. For some reason I need to be running today, the Q&A off a different computer. Don't ask me why this hasn't been the case before. Just ignore the SF in the background. That's just me running the Q&A. On that point, if you do have questions, we are using Zoom today so you'll see a Q&A chat box in there. If you've got any questions, pop them in there and Heather and I will do our best to answer them as we go. If there's any we don't have time to answer, we'll follow up with you afterwards.

Charles Clark:

Great. The webinar today in terms of the agenda, Heather and I actually sat down and put our heads together and thought really what would be the five or 10 things that we could tell you in terms of the A to Z compendium of how to do it. And so whether you are doing this in person or digitally online, maybe through the use of Zoom or GoTo Webinar, we are just trying to cover everything that you might like to you think about, including one of the most important things, which is preparing yourself to present. Which a lot of people, understandably, not everyone, but some people definitely find a bit daunting. Just before we get started, I think it was really valuable of you to all answer some of our questions. We had questions in the registration page and it was just fantastic to see so many answers coming through.

Charles Clark:

In particular, I thought it was really interesting to see that 30% of you have actually run Q&A's before, or 29% and 29% in you hadn't. The majority of you, 42% hadn't but were really keen to do it. It's interesting that 70% of you either hadn't but were keen to do it or have already. But you are obviously all here to learn about it, so Heather, hopefully we've got enough here that will cover everything thing. Also, one thing to note is that, some of your answers actually caused Heather and I to think a little bit, and actually we added… How many slides did we add in the end, Heather, two, three?

Heather Smith:

We added about three slides in response to your responses. In terms of running a Q&A, we were actually… it's a great way to actually start the Q&A off is in the registration process, to actually open up with those open ended questions, it leads you into forming your own Q&A and what you are actually going to do with it.

Charles Clark:

Sorry, Tim. I'm just having slight technical issues. Just let me go back out. We'll go back to slide present again, and fingers crossed that doesn't happen again. Sorry. Well, Heather, should we talk about purpose first? Because I think that was one thing that came through really clearly is not exactly sure. It sounds great, but what really is my reason for doing this? I think that's quite an important fact because you are taking some time yourself and you're also asking your clients to give you some of their time, so it really has to be worth it for both sides, doesn't it?

Heather Smith:

Yeah, absolutely. I've run our Q&A session almost the entire time I've been running a business, and it's an opportunity to give my clients and my potential clients, an opportunity to talk to me and for me to actively listen into what their potential problems are. Now, we've just gone through, or we are going through an unusual black Swan event. There was a lot of tax stimulus legislation thrown upon us, whether it be in Australia, New Zealand or anywhere in the world. Many people actually ran a Q&A to actually address that tax stimulus and to provide information that way.

Heather Smith:

The purpose was rather than have 30 phone calls in the week to actually have a direct opportunity to sit in on an hour session and deal with clients that way. It's actually a massive time saver. I know it's putting an area outside of your business sounds unusual, but it is a massive time I'm saver and an opportunity to actively listen to your clients and learn from. So lots of different purposes there from my own perspective.

Charles Clark:

Yeah, definitely. What we've seen is that oftentimes it's something that suddenly becomes achievable. During, as Heather said we've all been experiencing a very different way of working in the past eight, nine, 10, 11 months. One of the big challenges is that accounts and bookkeepers in some ways have never been busier, have never been more stretched. Thinking of different ways to connect with clients, different ways that they can support them. We definitely had a few and previous webinars say that look a year ago, two years ago, I used to fancy popping out for a coffee with someone. I used to do a lot of one to one phone calls, but so many of my clients are in real need of my services I just don't have the time. Or if you are in a lockdown like South Australia is at the moment it's not possible.

Charles Clark:

So what are the technologies in this case, talking about a virtual or sort interactive Q&A where I can speak to a lot of my clients and they'll all get value even if they don't necessarily ask their question. But I bet a lot of their questions will be answered, or a lot of things will be answered that they didn't even know they needed to ask. Yeah, I think the purpose is really amazing and the nice thing about a Q&A is that it doesn't have to be this same as a webinar. A webinar like we are doing today, it's much more where we are talking to you guys, whereas a Q&A by it's free nature is that it's interactive and you're getting much more two-way street.

Charles Clark:

As a result, you don't have to prepare in the same way. The work that you need to do beforehand isn't as great, maybe have some ideas on hand, maybe as Heather said, make them relevant to things that have been going on recently. But the workload for you is much smaller than if you were doing a full webinar. So Heather, you found this from Kinder Pocock?

Heather Smith:

Yes. This is a friend of mine, Sharon Pococks, and this is what she specifically to the purpose. This is her COVID 19 response webpage, and it's very comforting. The words are very empathetic. We're here for you. You'll notice on the bottom left hand side, she says, join us for a free COVID 19 check in on Zoom. I've enlarged that so it's easier to read on the right there. These sessions are run every Monday at 10:00 AM, and it's all very comforting and you know exactly what's happening and she's running them weekly. I believe she's been running them since about March. She's been very proactive in supporting her community and that just gives them some comfort. They know that if they're running through the week, when she's going to be available, that's when it's going to be. If that suits you, that might be something that you too consider.

Charles Clark:

I think that actually raises a good point. We did a webinar in the UK recently with practice webinar, and we are going to do it in the new year for Australia, New Zealand. But it was looking at what SMBs are looking for from their accountants. When they did the research unknowingly but prior to COVID, the key things they were looking for was expertise and a couple of other ones. After COVID had struck, the number one thing that these SMBs were looking for was communication. Communication from their accountants was now vaulted up to the top, and yes, they still wanted expertise and all the other elements in professionalism, but communication. And Kinder Pocock's example here is just such a fantastic way where it doesn't have to be formal.

Charles Clark:

It doesn't have to be one to one, but it's just, they know that every Monday they can come on and speak to their accountant. As Heather said, they can feel supported. Times are tough out there for a lot of businesses and this is such an easy way to support your clients. It's something that hopefully doesn't cost you much in terms of time and hopefully nothing in terms of resources putting it on. Just such a clever way that you can use the digital technology available. So topics.

Heather Smith:

I think that this was one of the points that people actually raised in their initial responses to the actual webinar, which was a great one. I typically run a webinar which is an “Ask me anything”, and we'll just jump in and try and respond as best I can. However, you may want to theme on a particular topic. I'm going to give you… if you're ready in your able, why don't you jump in the chat area and say, “Given the opportunity to run a Q&A, what topic would you actually be interested in running it on?” It can be completely open ended, or it can be themed down into something like cash flow or a tax stimulus, or any tax legislation that has come out recently, or something that you… maybe a service that you're offering that you want to talk to them about. But why don't you, if you have the opportunity pop into the chat area a topic that you might be interested in running a webinar on.

Charles Clark:

I think one of the other elements was if you go on, I suppose, how do you get clients maybe to think ahead about the things that they might want to talk about? Would you suggest Heather maybe having a section where they can in advance say, look I want to chat about these sorts of topics so you can do a bit of preparation or would you just let them come in and ask them off the cuff as it were?

Heather Smith:

I would drive it, I would drive how I was going to plan to run it. But if it was however, it was organised, as we have done with this one, ask them questions, ask them open-ended questions beforehand, thus leading into how you're going to actually run the final thing. That enables you to prepare and to think about what is front of mind for them. That's actually a gift if you've got those questions, but you will find that some people will have a very, very narrow, specific focus. In fact, they're probably leading into, they actually need a consulting session, and you need to move them to a different type of, okay, we need to have a proper one-on-one meeting about this, but if it's more general, then you've got the opportunity to run it as a Q&A.

Charles Clark:

That's quite nice. Actually could be a very soft cell way of actually having a conversation where they indicate that they're interested in a particular service and you take it offline. Then you say, well to your point, let's have a consulting session. A nice way, I suppose, to let them present the, I suppose, their issue. Then you can come back with the solution in a different setting.

Heather Smith:

Yeah, absolutely. Because in the Q&A it's a client Q&A, so anything that you are saying or anything you're talking about is actually open to that community. You don't want to specifically giving advice on Jan's tax issues. Okay? You don't want to be talking through that in detail. You want to be talking through it in a generic term, and you want to be careful about not referencing names and unidentifiable features. But you can talk to specific tax instruments. You can talk to the GST and things to be considered, but you can say, “Look your questions are getting a little bit complex.

Heather Smith:

For me to specifically respond to them, I need more details and maybe you need to book a meeting with me.” I'm not doing it to be salesy. I'm doing it to be informative, but they now know who you are. They have a really good connection with you. Thus it may easily flow on to a client meeting and an engaged client and booking… bringing them on as a client.

Charles Clark:

Yeah. I've just got a question here that's coming. That says, “I'm a sole trader with no staff. I regularly attend webinars and many talk about the need for moderator or assistant. Is this necessary?” Heather, what do you think? Is it necessary?

Heather Smith:

Can you repeat that question? You must have got that question directly. I didn't get it.

Charles Clark:

Oh yeah. It's, I'm a sole trader with no staff. I regularly attend webinars and many talk about the need for a moderator or assistant. Is this necessary?

Heather Smith:

I think when it comes to this, you can keep it as simple and as small as possible. If you're a sole trader, which very much I am myself, just keep it as simple, as small as possible. Like we're going to show you some images of some people who've done some massive, massive scale webinars, etc. But that's fine. You're you are working small. Just throw something up there. I know the very first time I ran a Q&A, I put it up online. I said, “I'm going to run a Q&A,” and one person turned up and she actually made no comments until about 20 minutes in.

Heather Smith:

But what I did was I ran it and I said, “Well, look, this is a typical question that someone would ask, and this is a typical question that someone would asked.” And I just kept running with the flow. Then she started asking questions, but you know what, I converted it into a video, and the videos actually had a huge number of hits on YouTube. It kind of all worked out and I created marketing material from it. No, a bigger organisations, yes, a moderator is good. Smaller organisations, no. It's not necessary

Charles Clark:

Yeah. Actually and this brings us on to the next one quite nicely because we are going to talk about their technology. Just hacking back to the previous question in terms of a moderator assistant. One thing I would recommend is if you can, if your organisation is big enough, is that you have at least a teammate on the event, whether it's a question Q&A, or a webinar. Just because, and I was in a webinar the other day, and the person I was presenting with their screen died. Imagine if it had just been her and all the people on her webinar suddenly would've been over. But as it was, I was able to carry on and I presented the slides, and then she came on a couple minutes later. It was fine and we just made a joke about it and continued.

Charles Clark:

If you are in that position where you can have a teammate mate on board, even if it's just so that you're both presenting it, just shares the load a little bit, or one is just answering the questions, it will serve you well, if… And we saw earlier these things and technology sometimes don't always work as planned. That'll give you a backup that someone else can take over while you sort your stuff out.

Heather Smith:

Yeah. If you don't have someone, don't let that stop you from doing it. But if you do have someone leverage them. I do presentations to 3,000 people with the chartered accountants and they typically have about four people on the sidelines supporting us as we do that. But honestly, the first time you run one, you're unlikely to get 3,000 people so just get started, give it a go and grow as you do it.

Charles Clark:

Yeah. One more quick question. Joe, and I'll answer the first part of your question afterwards, but this part is, do you think people are being webinared/Q&A’d out at the moment? I can answer that from my perspective, and Heather maybe from your perspective. So BOMA we run quite a lot of webinars, and we've actually seen engagement go up in the last six months, even though we are running a lot. Having said that we do build, I suppose, natural holidays in between. We might do a series or a few in a row. Then because we've got Christmas coming up, that's a really nice holiday so we won't do any from the beginning of December, right through at least in Australia and New Zealand, right through just February.

Charles Clark:

There's a natural break in there. We often, I suppose, follow for us anyway, at least the school year. Anytime there's school holidays, we don't run them. We wait for the periods when we know that people are more likely to be able to be engaged. But Heather, what have you seen in terms of, is there too much out there?

Heather Smith:

No, I would say no. I would say that people are… Some people are happy to jump in on a webinar almost daily and actually have it running in the background to support them, to have that community around them as they're working through the day. Especially a lot of people in regional areas have said that they're finding it extremely comforting, how they're actually able to connect with people. Yeah, I get it that some people Zoomed out, but there's still… I keep thinking, I run a two hour session every afternoon and I keep thinking it needs to end, but then I just get an influx of up to 50 people every day for that two hour support session talking about business topics, so some people really need it.

Charles Clark:

Yeah. Great. Let's talk about technology. The nice thing is that while you can see here, the man on the screen who's a good friend of Heather's has-

Heather Smith:

This is Aaron Dunn from SMSF.

Charles Clark:

Yeah. He's got the expert package. The nice thing is that you can have a very much less tone down version. You don't need to have the green screen and the lights that he's got. You can have a microphone and a light much more along the lines of what Heather has, which is quite professional than what I've had, which is, it's probably a step, definitely a step below what Heather has.

Heather Smith:

Yeah. Look, I think it's really important to get really excellent quality audio. If the audio is bad, it actually tires the person out who's listening, far faster than if it's not. Audio for me is really important. The natural lighting, wherever possible. I have strip lightings, but I also have a window I can open up. The webinar cameras these days, they're so cheap. Just a really nice quality one that you can get them for under $100 that works for you.

Charles Clark:

In terms of the software itself, there are two main ones that a lot of people out there seem to use. The feedback I've had is that Zoom seems to be the most popular among accountants and bookkeepers, But Heather, you may have heard that actually it's GoTo Webinar. What have you seen?

Heather Smith:

Oh, I didn't even think you were going to mention GoTo Webinar. Microsoft Teams has had a massive increase in usage in the last year. I think it's of the larger accounting practices, so all the meetings from the larger firms that are coming through for me are on Microsoft Teams. Google Hangout is another one that a lot of the tech savvy people are using, Zoom. Goodness, I haven't touched GoTo Webinar for quite some time now. I haven't actually touched it this year, but yes, that is another option. Another option that just recently came across my radar was one called BigMarker. BigMarker. That was actually a very lovely visual experience, because I think when you are doing this, you need it to be a lovely visual experience. That's one of the things why we're keeping away from lots of words and just showing you these visuals. It's very comforting and easy to receive into your wherever you are.

Charles Clark:

Thank you for the question of a couple of minutes ago, you know who you are, but it was basically how often should we be running these? Here we are, we're talking about frequency and I suppose the answer is it depends, because it depends on what you can manage and it depends on your clients, and what you think would be right for them. Heather, what's your view on this one?

Heather Smith:

Yeah, absolutely. Do what works for you. We don't want you to… if you're finding it effective and that you're enjoying it, and you're building up on it, do it more often. If not, just do it as and when is needed. It's okay just to run a few and then pull back from them. Yeah. Just whatever suits you, whatever… The thing is, the more often you run them, the better you will get at them, but you also want to make sure that you've got people turning up to them. That's going to be, why are you running it? That circles back to the purpose. Is it disseminating information? Is it generating client leads?

Charles Clark:

Exactly. To that point, you could be regular like Sharon Pocock, or you could just do it ad hoc on the back of big, major news that would be relevant to your users. Yeah. Actually, we've got one more question which leads really nicely into this slide. I'll just read it out to you because I think that's a good one. I'm comfortable talking with people, but I'm not sure of on-screen presentation. Would doing practice runs help? I think that is quite an interesting point because when you're talking one to one, you can see them and look, hopefully if you're doing a panel, you will actually be able to see them because they'll have their screens turned on as well, but you don't get the same level of feedback as if you were standing right next to them.

Charles Clark:

Yeah, as Heather said, doing more will always help, but there are some tips, I suppose, for some of the anxiety that some people feel. I think, Heather, you are one of the people who never had a problem with it, never felt anxiety. Whereas I probably, more on the other side, I remember my school days and having to give speeches and it was always something I dreaded, but look, I think I've done probably 50 or 60 webinars now, and Q&A's and speeches, and it does get easier. That's from nothing more than doing a lot of them, and you practice and you learn what works for you.

Heather Smith:

Yeah. These client Q&A's, they're not there to trick you. You are running them, you're in charge of them. It is a comfortable conversation. Those clients are your tribe, they're your people. It should just become across as a comfortable conversation and you don't need to run a huge one. You can just run a short 20 minute session and just have a comfortable conversation. Typically, I've got my coffee here and I'm sitting down, and it's a relaxed environment. It doesn't need to be super stressful. It is a relaxed environment. If I can't see the person on the webinar, depending on the setup, I will imagine the person I'm talking to.

Heather Smith:

The person I'm talking to is a bookkeeper with young children at home. She's very busy. She's very keen on doing this, that and the other. She uses a variety of tools. I'll be very clear on who I'm talking to. Hopefully that… and that could be at a cafe or in this virtual situation, but they want you to win. They want the best out of you and they are supporting you. They're not there to trick you. They're not there to throw eggs at you. The worst that happened to me as I was presenting once, my husband put a bacon sandwich here and my dog leaped up and attacked it, and the whole… everything just… I lost everything.

Heather Smith:

Look, that's possibly one of the worst things that can happen. Things happen, people understand them, and I think now is the time to actually be doing them, because people are a lot easy year with who is running webinars. I know that I've done, as I mentioned, some webinars with the CAIA and said we had 3,000 people, and this guy literally was attacked by his cat the whole time while he was talking about this very serious tax issue. It didn't matter because it was just like everyone's going through different things at the moment.

Charles Clark:

I think actually to that point, it's really important to actively listen. If you're doing a Q&A, and obviously you've got a lot on your plate, you're running it and you're probably thinking about lots of things, but when they do ask the question or when they do, in this case, write it and send it to you that way, be really actively listening and make sure that they can see that you are taking the time to listen and hear what they have to say, and addressing their question because that is very much what they're here to do.

Charles Clark:

They've got something that they want to talk about, hopefully something that you can help them with, so showing them that you actively listen. I think also, just in terms of that relationship that you want to have with your clients, or probably prospective clients, if you can demonstrate that you do that, that is just a massive, massive, I think, tick in how they perceive you, because they'll be like, “God, this person, they listen to what I have to say. They give me the time. They understand me. I want to do more business with them.” It's really important.

Heather Smith:

Yeah. Absolutely. I do just want to give you a few quick tips before you do the Q&A, in terms of presenting. Make sure you have warmed up your voice and you actually are able to use your voice, and you've actually talked to people and you have your voice warmed up before you have presented. Have warm tea, not hot tea, not cold tea. Have warm tea to warm up your vocal chords and have slices of tart apple, or tart pineapple around because if you eat that, it will remove that watery sound from your voice when you are actually presenting, which makes the whole thing quite a lot nicer for people who are actually listening in.

Charles Clark:

One thing I would recommend is also good idea to record them because then… and we'll talk about why in a minute in terms of repurposing, but also, if you can bear it, watch the session back again. A little bit like nails down a blackboard hearing your own voice we all find it like that. But you'll able to see from the viewer's perspective, do you have any ticks? Are you saying ums or ahs a lot? Do you see anything that you think, “Ah, I might change that next time or I might make sure I try and do less pauses, or I leave better spaces in between topics.” There just might be things that you'll see, as painful as it might be, that you can then use to do better the next time.

Heather Smith:

I get all of my presentations transcribed. I use a service called rev.com, and get them transcribed, and I recognize, and still can't deal with the fact that I start lots of sentences with “so”, which drives me insane the number of times. I actually go and edit it all out, so it sounds like I don't start every sentence with “so”, but that's another way of actually… watch it or listen to it, or read the transcript, but we're going to talk about the gems of getting everything transcribed.

Heather Smith:

Here is the signup sheet from Sharon Pocock. We were throwing this into how regular are you doing it? You can see just the very simple signup sheet there. This is the Zoom way of doing it and showing you the various sessions that she's offering. I actually came across this because a relative reached out to me from the UK and I wasn't in a position to help him because it was UK law, and suggested he go and contact her that way, which he has done, which is great.

Charles Clark:

Fantastic. Just so you are aware, when you set up, in this case, the Q&A, she's added her a logo, which is great. She's got the different times. This is all automated, so they make it incredibly easy. There's no coding. You just have to fill out, I suppose, a couple of tick boxes and questions as to what you want to have in there. It really is simple. If you are unsure of how it looks, you can always publish it live, have a look at it, go back and edit it, and keep on viewing the live version until you're happy with it, and then you can send it out to people. The great thing is you could have this on your website. You could have it on your social pages. You could pop it into an email. There's lots of different ways that you could let people know that you are running this event, as we saw with Sharon's website.

Heather Smith:

We wanted to talk about the format and the way that you can actually run the Q&A. You could do it in this webinar format, like we are, or you can have the Brady Bunch type of format happening in terms of, you can see everyone at the same time. You may… for example, some people, like the Two Drunk Accountants, they run a small business podcast and they just invite people to send questions in, and then they answer them back on the podcast. It is a slower process and they've got more time to think about it.

Heather Smith:

You could also create, as what Sharon did, if you looked on her website on the previous slide that we had up of hers, she created a Facebook community. You can slow it down and say, “Okay, if you've got questions of a general nature, put them in the Facebook community,” so you don't necessarily have the intense doing it virtually. You can actually slow it down and deal with it that way, but you may then record it and put it up online.

Charles Clark:

A couple of, I suppose, questions that we had asked each other, but I'll just rush off because I think they're pretty useful is, so if you have a question hog, how do you address someone who… Because obviously you want people to engage, but equally, unless you're doing a one to one, you obviously want multiple people to engage. How do you handle, nicely, someone who's hogging all the question time?

Heather Smith:

Well, I think all questions are a gift and I welcome them all. Depending on your circumstances, I would just stay on and answer all the questions that that person is asking. If someone else is asking them questions around it, of course I'll answer their questions as well, but I do consider all questions to be a gift. I remember I was in this situation and I offered to do a presentation with an organisation, and this lady contacted me and I was a bit, oh, this is a bit weird.

Heather Smith:

She said, “Look, can I phone you?” I spoke with her and she goes, “I've just got all these questions. You're coming to do this presentation.” I said, “Email me the questions,” and she emailed me 20 questions. It completely changed the presentation for me, and I went in and answered all of her questions specifically, but it was actually, her questions were a lot of the questions that the audience wanted as well, so I just felt comfortable doing that.

Charles Clark:

That's good. Yeah. I suppose to that point, in terms of, unless you were running a Q&A about a specific topic, then there aren't really any off topic questions because unless you said, right, this is one specifically for, say, my construction clients or the retail sector. If you are doing a general Q&A, then really any topic, as long as it's roughly relevant to what you're doing, is going to be good, is going to be useful, isn't it?

Heather Smith:

Yeah. If I'm doing a presentation, I will be very clear, there is a Q&A at the end, but if I am doing a presentation, I'm quite good at multitasking. If a relevant question comes up online while I'm talking about that specific topic and it's a subtopic or it needs me to clarify something, I will address that at that particular time. That actually assists when you have additional moderators helping you, because what I have is on my second screen comes up and the moderator will come and, “You need to answer this question while you're dealing with that,” and I can flick and see that, and bring that in as well. That's getting into a more advanced, complex level there, so I don't want to scare people off, but if they're on topic, I'll answer them at the time. Otherwise, I'll shuffle them towards the end and make sure we get through everything that we have promised our engaged audience that we will get through.

Charles Clark:

I see. This is a new piece of Facebook.

Heather Smith:

Yes. Mark Zuckerberg was working busy over the weekend and he's, he's brought out this thing. You can see here, this is from my own Facebook group. When I go to make a post, I have that little red icon, which says ‘Host a Q&A Session', and it gives me the opportunities to post that question in there and then people can ask questions of it. When I looked at it, it actually allowed me to shut it off later on during the day, if people were going to ask questions of it. Just another format, a way of doing that, to ask those questions and to open up a conversation with your clients or your community.

Charles Clark:

Yeah. This is obviously a key one, and you alluded this little bit, to this earlier, which is obviously you want people to engage. It's not a great look if you have 10, 15 people on a Q&A, and no one is engaging.

Heather Smith:

Well, I'm going to disagree with that. It doesn't matter. Don't feel stressed if people aren't asking you questions. Just feel comfortable with what you're doing. People frequently just don't ask questions, but if they do, that's good, and if they don't, that's a challenge.

Charles Clark:

I suppose, to that point, I mean, ideally, if you've asked people to note down some questions before the group, you can obviously rely on those. You don't have to rely on people piping up in the middle of something, which some of them may not feel comfortable doing.

Heather Smith:

Absolutely. To that, you aren't asked questions as part of the registration process, which actually bulked up this webinar by about 30% in terms of the content. We are responding and dealing with questions that the clients, the community asked. The way the questions come in doesn't necessarily matter. It doesn't necessarily need to be in the audience. I highlight, you may want to plant what is known as a Dorothy Dixal, which is you plant… you get people in your audience who are friendly to actually ask questions.

Heather Smith:

Sometimes it's a matter of one person asks a few questions, more people are inclined to ask questions, but I don't want you to feel put off if people aren't asking questions. Just go there with your purpose, deliver what you needed to deliver, pull out some questions you know are important that people will need answered, and try and warm them up.

Charles Clark:

Actually, a live poll is quite an interesting way of doing that because you could run a live poll, they can give you their feedback by clicking on a button. They don't have to come out and say anything. Then you can use that as a topic for discussion, and having just involve themselves in that poll, that might be the nudge that they want to then follow up and maybe discuss why they voted the way they did, or what they found interesting about the results.

Heather Smith:

Yeah, absolutely, and that's quite simple to set up, those live polls. You could put polls out on LinkedIn or Twitter before the session as well. Interestingly enough, some of the CPD requirements, not based in Australia and New Zealand, but outside actually require you to do four polls during the webinar.

Charles Clark:

That would be an easy way to make them. Afterwards, so I don't want you to think that you do all this work and then you've done it, and then you can wash your hands of it. The nice thing is that these Q&A's, or webinars in the wider sense, you've done all the work by getting people there, however many people turned up. You've got this content. A couple of things to think about is do you want to follow up with either individuals in the group who asked specific questions, or maybe you want to follow up with everyone in the group, just to get some general feedback or your thoughts, just wrapping up the group?

Charles Clark:

That's a really nice way, because it gives you the chance to think about some of those questions a bit more deeply, and then you can write an answer that maybe then links out to something on your website or a blog that you've written, or something that points them in the direction of finding out some more information. Just, I suppose, again, shows the value that you can bring, not just in that immediate Q&A format, but afterwards that you're still thinking about them. You're still thinking about how you can deliver value. Then you ask them to open an email, hopefully, and then they can go off and get some more information.

Heather Smith:

Yeah. This takes the pressure off you. You don't need to be able to answer everything, whether it be that you don't have the expertise at that point in time, or whether you need to check some things specifically before you respond to them, or whether you simply run out of time. It does give you, as you said, as Charles said, the opportunity to reconnect with them, let them know, let the community know how you are going to respond afterwards. Sometimes you may run this live Q&A and then say, “And let's continue the conversation in the Facebook group or in LinkedIn,” or somewhere like that, or even on Reddit or somewhere like that, so that they know that they're potentially going to get an email, or if they need to follow up, it's going to be in a forum type area.

Charles Clark:

You can also ask them… it's nice to get a feeling for how they found the session. Whether that's through an exit survey, or maybe you can ask them for feedback when you see them next and just say, “Did you find it useful? How could we improve it?” Just anything like that, because two things that that does. First, it gives you feedback that you can then use to improve it. Then secondly, it shows them that you are listening, that they have a chance to influence what is really a group discussion. As Heather said, yes, you are running it. You are in charge, but it's for their benefit, and obviously, they'll be the people who know best what will benefit for them.

Charles Clark:

It's a really nice way to get them involved and they can understand that they can influence the structure of these, and obviously, that's going to help them find them more useful. Great. Repurposing, and Heather, you've already given a couple of examples of this, but again, you've done this work. You've got this content either in the forms of the polls or answers to questions, or you've recorded it. Now you can use it. Heather, you were saying that you put them into YouTube videos, you put them on social. What else do you do with them?

Heather Smith:

I'm very much about repurposing, recycling all content. I would be transcribing it. I would be… I'm putting it up as blog content, checking over and putting it up as blog content so you're improving the SEO on your website through that unique content. I might be trimming down the Q&A part of it, and having inter segments and then creating micro videos out of it. I might put the full video up on YouTube, then maybe create the micro videos, put them up on YouTube, but also put them into LinkedIn. Putting a micro video under about five minutes into LinkedIn can have a massive traction. If your audience there is on LinkedIn, that's a really good way to attract them. If they're not on LinkedIn, then that's not where you necessarily want to put it.

Heather Smith:

Also, you may want to, from what has come out, is craft additional blog posts that may go somewhere else. If you're talking about something, you go, okay, well, I'm going to write this blog post, but it's quite useful, how about I get it posted on, say, another person's website. Maybe I'm talking about accounting and the legal… accounting for lawyers. Maybe I contact the law association and see if I can get it posted on their website linking back to me. I'm getting that authority and links there, and more eyeballs on the actual content I created, pretty low effort for what you're doing. Of course, you would follow up with newsletters as well.

Charles Clark:

That's a great idea. Just one thing, Heather was talking about repurposing the video into micro videos. That's a pretty easy thing to do these days. My laptop just comes with some inbuilt software that I can just basically drag and drop the file in, and then cut the different bits that I want out to edit it. I'm by no means a video editor. The technology these days will be available either on your laptop or desktop already, or you can download it pretty easily and you can edit it. It's really not difficult. One thing I would suggest, and you may have seen it on some of BOMA's videos before, is that we got our designer just to create a two second intro and a two second outro, and it's just branded in there.

Charles Clark:

They're basically the same thing. It just means that we can bookend whatever recording we have with this, basically. It's a nice logo that appears, and that's a super, super simple way just to brand and connect that content with your business, with your logo. Then just every piece of content that you have, you know that you can just package it in that nice brand packaging. Again, it's not a difficult thing to do. Once you've done it once, you'll see what I mean, and you'll be aware and laughing.

Charles Clark:

Cool. We've answered quite a few questions as we've been going on. Does anyone have any more questions? I think I might have seen one more coming in. Oh, just really enjoyed this webinar. Will you guys been doing more like this? We'd love to. If you've got any specific, I suppose, topics around presentation or speaking, or hosting these, just let us know. I've seen the Slack messages come in. Yeah, if there's any topics around this that you'd like us to do, just pop them in the chat box and we'll take it. When we start planning, gosh, 2021's webinars, we'll make sure to include those.

Heather Smith:

Yeah. In terms of micro videos that we were talking about there, if you jump on and go and have a look at some of my LinkedIn posts just recently, I've put a lot of micro videos up there. I think I had a reach into the community of about 4,000 over putting a few of those up there. The impact of them is really useful, but your audience might be TikTok, so maybe you can convert the video into TikTok. Does your computer do that, Charles?

Charles Clark:

For those ones I use Loom.

Heather Smith:

Oh, do you? Okay.

Charles Clark:

Which look… and to be fair, which I got from you, Heather. Yeah, so Loom, if you're not familiar with it, you can record videos either on your computer or on your phone, and then you can edit them and then as Heather said, you can pop them into the different social channels.

Heather Smith:

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Well, if you're listening in and you're in the chat area, let's ask them a question in the chat area. Do you think after doing this, you're going to give running a virtual Q&A a go? Pop in the chat area, if it's yes or no.

Charles Clark:

Well, that's a good one. Just to look at. 29% of you had already done so. 29% hadn't and 42% hadn't, but intended to, and the numbers are coming in. We're mostly getting yeses.

Heather Smith:

Yes. Awesome. Oh, that's good. See how people didn't put any further questions on. As we've done this, we have actually made it very interactive, tried to make it very interactive and answer questions as we've gone along. We got to the Q&A, and there was no more questions, but it was okay. We went back and asked the community questions, which hopefully were useful for them and made us feel good, because we've got a few more people actually going to run and do this, which is great.

Charles Clark:

Okay. Well, everyone, thank you so much for turning up. I think it's probably useful just, I suppose, recapping just some of the reasons that we felt were good for webinars, and to my mind, it's great because it allows you to connect with and support clients. You can find out what's on their mind, what their challenges are. It's super scalable and massively cost effective. The technology and tools are very widely available to everyone now. You don't have to do them at a cadence that is going to be difficult. You can choose whatever's right for you and your client. That's the nice thing.

Charles Clark:

You don't have to lock yourself in to something that you don't feel comfortable or able to put out. As Heather said, really important to nail your purpose and have a plan for doing these. Otherwise, you might find after, the first couple might go well, but as you do more and more and more, you may run out of, I suppose, steam to do it. Heather, you've been running your sessions for some months now. How do you keep that going? I mean, I notice sometimes it's questions that people have asked and you use those as the next topic.

Heather Smith:

We have put out something like 500 hours of content this year for our community chats. I constantly think I'm going to run out of steam, but then people constantly come back with new concepts and new ideas. It's interesting. The community just keeps nicheing down and asking more detailed questions. I know we've got one coming up and one of the ladies actually wants to run it for the very first time. She's like, “I just want to talk to people about pricing. I don't want anyone to say ‘value-add' to me. I don't want on to say ‘set pricing' to me. I just want to talk about pricing.” She's just going to run a little session and they're just going to chat casually about pricing.

Heather Smith:

It doesn't necessarily need to be a hard topic there, but I do monitor a lot of blogs. If I see something interesting that comes up, like one of the topics recently was how to organise your home office, and I thought, okay, we should explore that. Business? Yeah, look, it is business related, removing clutter from your home office and having a clear efficient home is important. They all formed interesting topics. I did want to mention something, which I should have mentioned earlier. In terms of presenting, if you're not feeling ready to present, you actually don't need to be the person who does the presenting. It may be that you get someone else do the presenting. Look in your office.

Heather Smith:

Is there someone else that might relish that opportunity? I can talk under water upside down for hours on any topic. There may be other people who can do that. I know… I'll throw back to an example, another accounting firm, and I'm not sprinting myself, because I don't have capacity to do this now, but another accounting firm didn't want to do it. What they did was they got me to stand up and do the talking about it, but the experts there did all the responding. I did lead the way. That might be an opportunity for you as well.

Charles Clark:

Well, actually one last question has come and then we'll have to wrap up. It basically says, Heather, in your emails, you always have interesting people. I suppose this is the real question, which is, how do you approach people to get them on as guests, I suppose, is what he's asking.

Heather Smith:

Oh, okay. I interview… I typically have an interview every week and for want of a better term, I'm cyber stalking them. I'm monitoring what they're doing and what they're saying in the community. I'm interacting with them. I will then gently approach them and say, “Look, are you open to me interviewing you?” and if they are, I actually have a form that they fill out and it gives them the… It's a form that they fill out that I ask them various questions about their background, about what's their favorite book, about what topics are interesting to them at the moment, and I ask them to fill that out. Some people I know will jump at that, and then other people I know were quite reserved about that.

Heather Smith:

Then I go on and say, “Look, the interview is a safe space. The conversation is a safe space, and anything that we… I'm not there to trap you. I'm there to surface really interesting insights about you, and I want this to be a wonderful experience and opportunity.” I try and make them feel very comfortable about it. I do spend the time researching them before I interview them. I typically would spend 90 minutes to two hours researching them, reading their past articles, reading their past profiles before I interview them, and then you see the interview. Hopefully that answered your questions.

Charles Clark:

Yeah, I think… and we've actually had a similar question in a different webinar, but in terms of, if you‘re thinking, oh, gosh, who else could I invite? If you look around your local area, and you might look at associations or different groups, whether they're… you might get a lawyer on, or a banker, or you might get an expert in a particular niche, or a sector, and just go to them and say, “Hey, look, I'd like to do a presentation on this particular topic and you'd be the subject matter expert. Would you like to come on and join me with that?”

Charles Clark:

The nice thing for them is that they get to come on and hopefully reach and become… make your clients aware of this person, and their business and what they do. The nice thing for you is that you get a subject matter expert to come on and talk about an area which you may not know very much about, but here you are. They're going to come on and speak for, or engage in a Q&A, or a webinar and speak to that for free, which is great. The nice thing is that these can be a real win-win.

Heather Smith:

If you're doing that with finding an expert, ask or cyber stalk them again for past presentations that they've done, so that you can watch them and make sure they align with what you want to bring to the community. I know that I've probably coordinated and brought on hundreds of speakers over the years. Some of them said they could speak and absolutely couldn't speak at all and did no preparation, and turned up and just wasted everyone's time for an hour, which was unfortunate.

Heather Smith:

But if I had have said, “Look, please…” and this is one of the things as a standard I do now. I say, “Give me an example of where you've spoken before,” and I can just jump in and watch it for a couple of minutes and know that they can do something. However, saying that, many of the people I bring on, many of the people I organise to speak may not have professional speaking behind them, but that's okay because I will frame up the support around them to support them, to surface their insights. Hopefully that made sense.

Charles Clark:

No. Brilliant. Well look, thank you so much, everyone. I realise we've gone a little bit over time, but thank you all for sticking with us. Heather, thank you so much for bringing your insight and stories from the battlefield, as it were.

Heather Smith:

Thank you so much, Charles, and BOMA Marketing and everyone who attended for coming on today. Jump over and connect with me, and say hello to me on LinkedIn, if you'd like to.

Charles Clark:

Brilliant. Have a great day, everyone. See you next time.