Slido is an audience interaction platform for meetings and events. It allows event organizers to crowd-source the best questions for Q&A sessions, get instant feedback via live polls and share presentations with audiences in real-time.
As an Internal Communications professional, sometimes, you are tasked with running leadership Q&As during town hall meetings or as stand-alone ‘Ask Me Anything’ sessions.
And you want to get it right. But you don’t know what questions you will get, so you want your executive leaders to be geared up for success.
To help you brief your executives and prepare them for what might come up, here are some essential tips you can give them, gathered from experienced IC professionals.
Prepare for the Q&A in advance
Start collecting questions before your meeting starts. You can do that most effectively with Q&A tools like Slido. Your employees will have time to formulate their questions and you’ll have more time to think about your responses.
Once you’ve got some questions in, prepare the answers and key points with the comms team.
Answer the most relevant questions first
To identify the most burning issues, remind people to upvote the questions they want answered the most.
When you’re on stage, address the most popular questions first. Giving people the power to decide will make the Q&A more democratic and help the employees to feel that their voices were heard.
Stay calm, respectful and empathetic
When you get a critical question, try to avoid getting defensive. Showing irritation might discourage people from asking further.
Instead, stay calm and show empathy. Try to understand the why behind each question.
Respond respectfully, even if you find the question irrelevant or uninteresting. It will make people feel valued and part of the conversation.
Ask for clarification if you don’t understand a question
When you are not sure that you understand the question, ask for clarification. You can simply say, “Please, can someone elaborate? I’m not sure I understand this question.”
If you allow your employees to submit questions anonymously, you can say, “Please, can you clarify your question? Feel free to send it via Slido if you want to stay anonymous.”
In case no one wants to elaborate, repeat the question in your own words and say what you think it means before responding. Echoing to the audience what you think they are saying will make them feel heard and give you time to formulate your answer.
Explain the context and rationale behind your answers
Don’t just give a one-word answer to yes-no questions (“Can our product do this?” or “Are we going to hire more people this year?”). Always provide some context.
For instance, explain the initial idea and how you got to where you are. It will give your employees a better understanding of the rationale behind important decisions and help you get their buy-in.
If you don’t have an answer, be straight about it
When you don’t know how to answer a question, be honest about it. Your credibility will stay intact if you acknowledge your limitations. It’s okay to say, “I don’t know how to answer this right now; let me get back to you.”
If the question requires time to analyze because of its complexity, ask for it. Explain why you need more time and set out the steps you need to take to provide an answer.
Alternatively, ask the person accountable for the project or area to address the matter if he or she is at the meeting. If you received the question before the meeting, give the person a heads up so that he or she can prepare the answer.
Be transparent if you can’t give an answer on a confidential matter
Sometimes, you might get questions about a confidential matter. In such cases, instead of vaguely dodging the question, explain that it is confidential and why it is so.
In case the information has to stay unrevealed for some time before you can share it internally, be frank and say, “We can’t share this yet but we will give you all the information as soon as we can over the coming weeks.”
Reiterate your answers to duplicate questions instead of dismissing them
If you get questions that seem to be repetitive, don’t simply dismiss them. They might be asking about nuances that you might have skipped before or need further clarification.
Instead of ignoring them, read each question thoroughly and if needed, reiterate your previous answer.
Then check if the audience is satisfied with your response and give your employees a chance to react. It will show them that you care.
Follow up on the unanswered questions afterward
When you get too many questions to answer during one session, your comms team can help you follow up with answers after the meeting. It will give you a chance to provide more elaborate responses and ensure no question is left unanswered.
Ask your team to download all the questions after the meeting and provide your answers. If needed, ask the relevant people in the company to contribute their updates.
After the meeting, your team can share the answers with employees on Slack, company intranet or by email. This way, you will ensure everyone in the company can access the information, even if they were not present at the meeting.
Over to you
When handled well, the Q&A can be the most valuable part of your town hall meeting for both the leadership and employees. Use these tips to gear up your executives to help them nail their next Q&A session.
Kate Schroeder is a Director of Recruiting & Talent Operations at Vimeo, the world’s largest ad-free open video platform, providing powerful tools to host, share and sell videos.
She’s been with the company for over four years and has seen it grow from 100 people to more than 500.
As you would expect, a growth this big comes with a handful of challenges and no small amount of learning.
Curious to know how this change affected Vimeo’s culture, we invited Kate for a friendly fireside chat during our recent customer meetup in New York.
She talked to our Head of Strategic Partnerships, Juraj Pal, about building trust with employees and steps they at Vimeo take to create a safe space for their colleagues to ask questions.
Read more in this inspiring interview.
Q: Kate, one of the reasons we are here today is to talk about transparency and open culture. Since Vimeo has grown rapidly as a company, how do you manage to maintain these values?
Building trust within a company is everything. And that goes hand in hand with openness in communication and a frequent feedback loop. Your employees must feel heard but also need to trust the decision-makers in the company.
Trust goes two ways. When the leadership trusts the employees enough to inform them about all the important stuff and ask for their feedback, the employees will trust the leaders to make good decisions. This is important because, as we know, decisions sometimes have to happen without checking in with everybody first.
Q: Speaking of keeping employees informed, I’ve heard you run regular all-hands meetings at Vimeo. Can you tell us what they look like?
Yes, we run quarterly all-hands that we call the ‘State of the Vimeo’. We invest a lot of time into it and it’s packed with content. It’s heavily product-focused, but we’re consistently tying the presentations back to our overall strategy, goals, and Vimeo’s mission. This makes us feel like it’s a continuous discussion from the previous all-hands.
Our CEO, Anjali Sud, is very clear in setting a strategy for us and outlining how we’re progressing towards the goals. That’s reflected in all of the conversations.
During the meeting, every department shares an update from the business side of things. We go through product updates and people updates. At the end of each meeting, we run a Q&A. That’s where we use Slido.
Q: Now that you’ve mentioned Q&A. How do you create a safe environment for your employees to ask questions?
We let our people post questions into Slido anonymously. Employees have to feel safe in asking questions, no matter what those are. Interestingly, even though we encourage our people to ask with their names, 90% of questions come in as anonymous.
Of course, there can be hardships with anonymous questions. Nevertheless, I feel it’s important to maintain that opportunity for employees. If you’re forcing people to “walk up to a microphone”, you can miss out on more subtle things your employees deal with.
Q: How do you deal with reduced accountability when it comes to anonymous questions?
I always moderate the questions before they go live. I push through almost all the questions unless they are offensive, insensitive or unproductive. In that case, I’ll respond and say: “Please, rephrase your question.” Or: “I don’t think we are going to answer this today.”
We’ve had conversations with our team about professional demeanor and tone of voice. Because even with an anonymous question, it’s still a professional discourse. We always urge our people to think of their colleagues and ask their questions in the same way as they would if speaking with someone in person.
Q: What do these conversations with your employees look like?
A face to face reminder is usually the most powerful. At the very beginning of the ‘State of the Vimeo’, we remind people that Slido is open and encourage them to send in their questions.
We also tell our colleagues to upvote/downvote the ones that are already in, to increase the chances the question they care about gets answered.
That’s when we gently appeal to them to be respectful of each other and keep the discourse professional.
Q: What do you do with questions that can’t be answered on the spot?
Sometimes we get questions we don’t know the answers to yet or ones that are too complex. When that happens, I think being honest is the key.
It’s okay to say: “I actually don’t know how to answer this question right now.” Or: “This question is really important but there’s a level of complexity that needs some time to ponder through.”
Again, it’s about building trust with your employees through an honest discussion. People can sense it if you’re trying to put a spin on a difficult question.
On top of that, we often get too many questions to be answered during a 20-minute Q&A slot. If that’s the case, we send out a Slido report to our leadership team with all the questions that were answered and all that were unanswered. We distribute them among the leaders and ask them to speak to their teams individually about the topics that have come up.
Juraj Pal talks to Kate Schroeder during Slido’s customer meetup in New York.
Recently, we got so many questions that we’ve done a quick follow-up and broke down the questions into high-level topics and had our CEO, Anjali, address each one. That was very well received. In my opinion, employees need to be able to access the leaders and have their questions answered.
Q: In a company of 500, it’s probably not easy for employees to reach out to the leaders. How do you cope with it?
You certainly have very specific growing pains at 150, 250 and at 500 person point. If you were a small company that at one point everybody knew each other’s name and you could pop in the CEO’s office at any time and have a conversation with them, it can be very frustrating suddenly to feel like there are layers between the big decision-makers in the company.
And for that reason, tools like Slido are so valuable. They allow for conversations between employees and leadership.
For the leaders, all-hands is an opportunity to reignite the excitement about the mission of the company, get the employees excited about the product and the progress that the company has made over the last quarter. But above all, an all-hands gives employees that face to face time with the executives and make people feel that their concerns matter.
Q: How do you measure the success of your all-hands meetings?
We send a feedback survey through Slido right after the ‘State of the Vimeo’. It’s a very simple, 5-question survey. We ask: Was this a valuable use of your time? What content resonated with you? What do you wish we’d talk about more? What do you wish we’d talk about less? Any other feedback?
Besides classic star-rating, we use an open text poll so that people can give more detailed feedback if they want to.
Mostly, employees say it’s a valuable use of their time. But there are still many question marks over whether we should focus on the product more, or culture more. It’s hard to please everyone when you’re 500 people.
For that reason, separate teams at Vimeo have their own kind of all-hands. For example, our engineering teams run their own, our sales teams as well. It’s important because there are internal cultures within a larger organization that you should nurture and pay attention to.
We also started to create smaller break out town halls specifically focused on some topics, such as recruiting and HR because we’re getting a lot of questions around this subject.
Q: This surely has to do with Vimeo’s acquisition of Livestream. It must have been a big cultural change to integrate a new company. What were some of your learnings and challenges?
One of the key takeaways we have learned from previous acquisitions is that it’s critical to integrate the new team members into Vimeo’s cultural practices as quickly as possible: to welcome them, get them accustomed to how we communicate and make sure they are included in the fun things we do.
With Livestream, we wanted to ensure the teams felt like they were a part of Vimeo right out of the gate. That in part meant creating a lot of face to face opportunities. We invested in a big welcoming party, and dedicated a full ‘State of the Vimeo’ meeting to introducing them, their history, their product, and, maybe most importantly, Anjali’s vision for the integration and how it tied into Vimeo’s larger strategic vision.
Q: I know that Vimeo also has offices in Israel, Ukraine, and India. What do you do to make sure those offices feel part of the Vimeo culture?
It’s important to empower those offices to create their own culture built on the foundations of the HQ culture.
Our leadership team has been traveling quite frequently to these offices. Also, our VP of Talent recently traveled around these offices, which I think is very important. It’s great for our remote offices to know that this person is there for them if they had any questions.
Investing that face to face time, making sure that your HR representative builds a close relationship with the people in the regions is what creates a sense of belonging. You just need to be very thoughtful of including everyone across the globe. And I think questions coming through Slido help you identify whether you’re doing a good job in that.
Thank you, Kate, for your valuable thoughts and insight.
At Slido, we constantly innovate. We never stop thinking up ways to make our product even better.
But keeping pace with the improvements and updates can sometimes be hard, especially for our non-tech teams.
We wanted to change that. We needed a channel that would help us make sure that we all understand Slido inside out.
And we’ve found it. We started running all-company Demo days.
See how this format works for us and find out how it can work for you, too.
Demo day is a 60-minute long session where product leads and project managers demonstrate new features that are currently in production.
We run Demo days once a month and everyone in the company is invited to join, including our remote teams.
There are typically 6 presentations, one for each new feature. Every presenter has 5 minutes for his or her pitch, and more or less 5 minutes for the Q&A.
The presentations are structured as quick Show & Tell sessions. The owner of the project takes the stage to introduce the new addition to our product and shows us how it works, live on the screen.
The speakers first explain the new update from the technical point of view, then they tell us how the new feature improves the customer’s experience.
This is important for our team to fully grasp the value of the feature and the impact it will have on the whole customer journey.
We started running Demo days for three main reasons.
First off, we wanted to create an effective feedback loop for our developers. At these sessions, they’re able to get instant feedback on the features they’re implementing and collect priceless insights from the rest of the team.
Secondly, with our team and the number of feature updates growing, it has become harder to keep everyone updated on the latest releases. Demo days provide a space for us to communicate all the news and bring the whole team back together around our product.
Last, but not least, seeing a live demo of a new feature is super useful for our customer-facing teams. It makes them aware of all the changes to the product so they can always keep our customers up-to-date on what’s new in Slido.
Since we want our colleagues to get the most out of Demo days, we make them as interactive and conversational as possible. For that, we leverage Slido.
Our speakers use Slido during their presentations in 3 ways:
Collecting feedback People’s feedback is definitely the number one reason for having Demo days. That’s why we run a quick feedback survey after each presenter’s slot.
In the survey, we ask our colleagues to rate the new feature using a rating poll and then add any further observations or comments in the open text poll below.
Each presenter gives our teammates 1-2 minutes to fill out the feedback to make sure they get as many responses as possible. Every team then separately evaluates the results after the session.
Thanks to people’s feedback, our developers are able to uncover any pain points and tweak the feature before it goes live.
Addressing questions Throughout the entire session, our colleagues are able to ask the speakers additional questions via Slido.
The presenters then address these at the end of each presentation, in the Q&A section.
Questions from the audience provide heaps of food for thought. They help the presenters identify things that people find unclear and, in a way, get insight into our customers’ minds.
Making presentations more interactive with polls Many of our project leads also like to spice up their pitches with live polling.
For example, during our most recent Demo day, our Product Manager, Peter Belej, was introducing the new feature Question labels. At the start of his pitch, he ran a poll asking us to guess the maximum characters that are visible in a label.
Live polls are a fun way for the presenters to communicate additional info or test the team’s knowledge about the new (and current) features.
They also make the presentation more engaging for the audience. After all, tech talk does sometimes need a break, doesn’t it?
Over to you
A Demo day is a win-win for everyone in the company. It is extremely useful for the client-facing teams who are better able to communicate the new features to clients, as well as the developers’ teams who gather valuable, hands-on feedback.
Try it too, to connect all your teams with the product and keep everyone in the loop.
Despite the infamous awkward silence that follows “Are there any questions?” Q&A sessions have the potential to be the best learning moments at conferences.
When delivered well, questions and answers can close the gap between the content the speaker has prepared and what the audience wants to hear.
To help you make your Q&A session worthwhile and engaging, we compiled 15 easy-to-implement tips that you can use at your next one – from planning to facilitation to using interaction technology.
PlanningInclude more time for questions in the speaker’s slot
Let’s be honest: a few minutes at the end of the presentation for one or two questions from a moderator doesn’t count as a Q&A session.
If you want to host a meaningful discussion between the delegates and the speaker, you need to dedicate more time to it. A good rule of thumb, if circumstances allow, is to allocate about one-quarter of the presentation slot to the Q&A.
For example, if you plan for a 40-minute session, give the speaker 30 minutes for the presentation and leave 10 minutes for the Q&A.
Brief your speakers before the event
Many planners underestimate the importance of proper briefing. They forget that a 40-minute slot on the agenda doesn’t equal 40 minutes of a speaker’s presentation. You need to account for introduction and questions as well.
When briefing your speakers, give them clear instructions, e.g., “You’ll have 30 mins for the talk and the remaining 10 mins will be dedicated to the Q&A.” Be sure to set the timing accordingly in your run of show and on the confidence monitors.
Put a separate block of Q&A after a few presenters
As an alternative to traditional speech + Q&A format, you can also host a joint Q&A session after a block of speakers. Take inspiration from London’s leading product conference JAM.
JAM hosts a 20-minute Q&A after two presenters speak on a similar topic, facilitated by a moderator. This creates enough space for interaction and answering more audience questions.
Replace keynotes completely with the Q&A formats
Not all experts are skilled public speakers. The need to prepare a presentation might even put off some speakers from attending your conference.
To overcome both shortcomings, swap keynotes for more conversation-friendly formats like fireside chats or panel discussions. They put less pressure on the speaker and create more opportunities for incorporating audience questions into the talk.
Another approach to allow for more conversations during your event is devoting one stage for Q&A sessions. The largest independent startup community, Startup Grind, implements this format with great success.
Since Startup Grind’s packed agenda doesn’t allow for long Q&As on the main stage, it sets up a separate Q+A Popup stage with 30-minute slots for questions and answers per speaker. That way, the speakers can dive deeper into their topics and the audience can take away the priceless insights it came for.
FacilitationLet the moderator ask the first question
When you open the floor for questions, the audience is still in the listening mode, processing the talk. As the delegates are put on the spot, they may end up sitting silent rather than risk asking a silly question.
As a seasoned moderator, Jan-Jaap in der Maur, put it: “The speaker was allowed weeks or even months to prepare, so why should the attendee have to deliver questions in 10 seconds?”
To give attendees more time to come up with questions, have your moderator ask the first couple of questions. They should be relatively familiar to the speakers so they can start the Q&A on a strong note. Alternatively, you can agree on the opening questions before the talk.
It’s great when your moderator can work directly with your audience. Ask him or her to encourage people to ask questions and walk toward the participants with a mic. The interaction will be more natural and informal than waiting for people’s questions and reactions on stage.
In a larger crowd, walking among the audience is even more important. Make sure that the moderator reaches even the very last rows. This way, he or she can ensure that the participants in the back are also included.
Repeat the question asked by the audience member
Sometimes, the question can be incomprehensible or disguised as a comment. Before letting the speakers react, rephrase it for both them and the audience to make sure everyone understands the question.
Let people brainstorm the questions together
If your event design allows it, consider a more creative approach to facilitating the Q&A. Ask people to collaborate and think of a good question in pairs or groups.
Have them submit questions via Q&A app and combine it with personal facilitation. Let the moderator walk around the room and bring up some of the questions and reflections he or she hears.
Apart from raising more relevant questions, it’ll help people formulate their thoughts and exchange them with others.
Change the way you ask for questions
How you ask for questions matters. Try replacing “Do you have any questions?” with an open-ended variant “What questions do you have?” like this math teacher did. Even a little change in wording can make a huge difference.
Two years ago, I was saying “do you have any questions?”. Last year I switched to “what questions do you have?” It made a difference. Today I tried “ask me two questions”. And they did! And those ?s led to more ?s. It amazes me that the littlest things have such a big impact!
Alternatively, if you don’t want the Q&A to get off track, you can steer the debate by inviting only topic-related questions, e.g., “What questions do you have about the SEO practices?”
TechnologyIntroduce the tool at the start
Using Q&A platforms is a great way to crowdsource the most interesting questions from the audience. But as with everything, new things take some time to adopt.
As a part of your welcome remarks, let your audience know that you’ll be using an event tech and explain how it works. Ideally, you can go through the instructions with the attendees to make sure they are able to join in.
Even if you implement a Q&A tool, people still need a nudge to post their questions. To get the conversation going, prepare a few questions yourself and post them during the speakers’ talk. Seeing other questions will motivate participants to join the Q&A and submit their own questions.
Let the audience decide which questions should be asked
Many Q&A tools including Slido enable participants to upvote the questions. It helps you find out which topics resonate with your audience, and which questions they want the speaker to address.
Therefore, remind people throughout the event to vote for the questions they like the most, especially when the Q&A session is coming to an end and there’s not enough time to go through all of them.
Always ask two or three of the top voted questions
To show participants that you care about the questions they submitted, it’s important to address at least a few of them. If ignored, people might refrain from posting any questions later.
If you don’t have time to answer any, always comment on the situation and say thanks so that your participants’ effort doesn’t go unnoticed.
Share the unanswered questions post-event
Once the Q&A turns into a lively discussion, you might end up with far more questions than you’re able to handle. But that’s nothing to be afraid of.
Many speakers welcome the chance to answer audience questions after their talk, as it gives them an opportunity to create valuable post-event content and continue the conversations from the event. Make sure to send the presenters the list of remaining questions from their talk if they request it.
A great Q&A session is usually a combination of thoughtful preparation, masterful moderation and skillful use of interaction technology. And, naturally, an intelligent and curious audience population. Use the tips above to make your next Q&A a success.
We’re thrilled to announce the launch of our new integration with Google Slides for teachers and professors, as part of our partnership with Google for Education.
With our Google Slides add-on, you can create and run polls and live Q&A right within your presentation and display them easily as you present.
This step also marks a very special milestone for us, as our story began in academia.
Coming full circle: from university to university
Seven years back, Slido was born on university grounds as a student feedback tool for professors.
Our CEO, Peter Komornik, was teaching a course at a local university at the time. He wanted to make his lectures better by getting real-time feedback from his students.
To solve this problem, he and his friend went to a Startup Weekend, where they met their co-founders and created a simple app for collecting instant feedback after presentations.
“Our vision from the start was to help professors deliver more effective and engaging lectures by giving a voice to their students,” commented our CEO, Peter.
“Now, after seven years in the world of events and corporate meetings, we are excited to bring our learnings back to higher education. Our add-on for Google Slides is exactly the kind of tool I wish I had when I was teaching all those years ago.”
Creating an easy experience for both teachers and learners
We wanted to find a simple way for professors to collect student insights without having to leave Google Slides.
“Our goal was to create an experience where the professors won’t even realize that they are using another platform. Adding interactive polls or live Q&A to their lectures should become an effortless and intuitive part of creating their presentations,” explained Juraj Pal, Head of Strategic Partnerships at Slido.
We also wanted to make it easy and intuitive for the learners. “From the students’ perspective, asking a question or expressing an opinion in a live poll shouldn’t take more than a few seconds,” continued Juraj.
“Ultimately, we are doing this for the students, to help them get the most value from their education by making classes more engaging and conversational,” explained our CEO, Peter.
3 ways to engage your students with Slido for Google Slides
To give you inspiration for using the add-on during your lessons, here are the three most popular ways you can use it.
Collect instant feedback from your students
Feedback is fuel for improvement. With the new Google Slides add-on, you can create feedback polls without the need to leave your presentation.
At the end of your class, the poll question will automatically be displayed on the presentation screen, inviting students to send in their feedback.
It’s an effective way to find out what resonates with your students. What’s more, the option to submit anonymous feedback creates a safe space that empowers the students to share what they really think.
Check for understanding of the presented material
You don’t have to wait until the end of your lesson to check if your students understand what you’re teaching them.
Incorporating quick live polls throughout your slide deck is a great way to check your students’ response to the learning material. It will help you quickly identify unclear areas that need more explanation and give you a chance to elaborate.
Using polls will also help you keep your students engaged and put their thinking hats on throughout the lecture.
Address any unclear questions in a live Q&A
Asking questions is another important part of the learning process. But let’s face it: very few students are brave enough to stand up in front of a class and ask a question.
I love when speakers use tools such as slido so students can type their questions instead of getting up to ask them. It is amazing when you see how much curiosity and knowledge is out in the audience, trapped behind a lack of condfidence
Every feature and functionality that we’ve ever cooked in our Slido kitchen has been carefully tested by our own team. After all, how could we trust our product and secure the best experience for our users if we didn’t take the first bite?
That’s why we’ve decided to write this Inception-like article to show you how Slido helps Slido to run better meetings in the hope to inspire you on the new ways you can use it in your workplace.
Here are our 13 favorite use cases. Feel free to put them to the test.
1. All-hands meetings
Like for many of our clients, an all-hands meeting is our number one use case. At Slido, the primary purpose of our monthly all-hands is addressing our team’s questions through an open discussion.
To allow for that, we start collecting questions a week before each all-hands meeting. Our Internal Comms Manager, Kristina Koskova, pops a link in our Slack’s #general channel via our Slido x Slack integration. Then with one click, our colleagues are able to post their questions.
We also let our teammates submit their questions into Slido anytime during the meeting. They can do so either anonymously or with a name (while the braver ones can raise their hand and speak up).
Our CEO, Peter Komornik, then addresses these questions during his AMA (Ask Me Anything) session at the end of each all-hands. To make sure the most burning issues get discussed, we go through the submitted questions and upvote the ones we identify with.
We also use live polling during our town halls.
Since all-hands is about and for the people, we like to acknowledge our team’s highlights. Each of us picks one moment from last month — either a professional or a personal triumph — and submits it into Slido via our Ideas feature. We then display all our highlights on the screen to share with the rest of the team and use upvoting to support the ones we like.
Another way to lift team spirits is our regular Silent hero activity. Using a word cloud poll, each member of our team nominates a colleague who, in their opinion, did an outstanding job last month.
We put down a name and the reason why this person deserves to be called a hero. We then display the names on the screen in a word cloud. The more times the person has been voted for, the bigger the name appears.
At the end of each all-hands, Kristina asks us to fill out this quick feedback survey:
How would you rate this all-hands meeting? (rating poll)
What’s the most valuable part of our all-hands meetings? (open text poll)
Any ideas for improvement of all-hands? (open text poll)
To make sure she gets as many responses as possible, Kristina always prompts us to fill out the survey right on the spot. Collecting feedback on the meetings helps us make sure they’re relevant and useful for all.
2. Remote meetings
We also use Slido extensively at our team meetings. Since our teams are scattered around the world, we run most of our meetings on Zoom calls with our remote colleagues joined online.
We typically run a warm-up poll to engage everyone right at the start and make them feel present.
Here’s an example from our latest all-marketing session. Our Marketing Director, Juraj Holub, kicked off the meeting with a simple question: “In one word, how would you describe April?”
He then specifically addressed the colleagues online and asked them to elaborate on their answers.
Especially during larger meetings, it can be quite difficult for remote people to join the discussion.
On a call, our teammates are usually muted (to omit background noise) and just listen to the speakers. That’s why we always motivate our colleagues, both online and in the room, to keep submitting their questions into Slido throughout the whole meeting.
Using Slido during our remote meetings makes our teammates online feel a part of the conversation, whether they are working from a café in London or sitting in the New York coworking space.
One of our most productive meetings is a team retrospective. The first impulse to run retros through Slido came from our developers. Since then, the tradition has spread to other teams, who hold them on a monthly basis.
During the sessions, we recap what went well and what didn’t go so well last month. To be time-effective, we send a Slido survey to each team member to fill out in advance.
Here’s a set of questions we ask in the retro survey:
How would you rate the past month? (rating poll)
What went well? (open text poll)
What can we improve? (open text poll)
Anything else you’d like to discuss? (open text poll)
The insights collected from the survey serve as a stepping stone to setting team goals and strategies for the next month. On top of that, they help the team leads to facilitate the discussion during the session.
Every Slido newbie goes through an intense onboarding that involves a series of training sessions. To make them more fun, and effective too, we do two things:
First, at the end of each learning block, we check how well the newbies understood the presented content via quiz polls. We ask them to select one of the options and once they voted, we reveal the correct answer.
Here’s an example quiz poll:
In what type of Slack channel can you manage Slido? a) Any channel b) Private channel only c) Private channel and direct messages
Second, we test our newbies’ progress through quick troubleshooting exercises. These are basically descriptions of short, real-life cases that occurred on our customer support. We ask our newbies to come up with a solution, compose an answer as if they were answering a client and then post it into Ideas.
Once submitted, our newbies go through the others’ answers and upvote the ones they think are good. Our colleague who leads the session then discusses the answers with them.
This exercise also helps our newbies to understand our tone of voice and the communication style we use with our customers.
6. Internal training
To improve our people’s skills and teach them new ones, we run various internal trainings.
Before the session, our trainers send the participants a simple rating poll, or a multiple choice poll, to unearth their level of knowledge. This helps the trainers make sure that the presented material is adequate to the trainees’ skill level, and that they get the most out of the session.
Here are some example polls:
How comfortable are you with using Excel? (rating poll)
How would you assess your knowledge of our data security? a) I can answer any question you throw at me b) I know a thing or two about it c) I am completely in the dark
Polls are also effective during the training itself. At her latest customer journey training, our Success Operations Manager, Martina Mlynska, ran several quiz polls to keep her audience engaged. As she put it: “During the training, people might easily get lost in the flood of information and data. Quiz polls bring gamification into the learning and make it more fun and digestible.”
Here’s an example quiz poll:
How is NPS calculated? a) No. of promoters minus no. of detractors b) No. of promoters plus no. of passives minus no. of detractors c) No. of promoters divided by the no. of detractors
Our Education team runs regular product webinars to get our clients on board and explain Slido features to them.
Slido’s Head of Education, Zuzana Bozikova, always kicks off her webinars with an icebreaker poll. It helps her to engage her online participants right off the bat, and learn a little about their background.
For instance, she asks her attendees:
What is your main objective for attending this webinar? a) Improve audience interaction b) Increase employee engagement c) Run more effective meetings d) Streamline Q&A
She also does continuous check-ins to find out how well her online participants understood what she was explaining. To do that, she uses a rating poll, such as:
How clear is the discussed topic for you so far? (1 = unclear, 7 = very clear)
Constantly engaging the webinar attendees through Slido helps Zuzana to keep their attention. To make her webinars even more conversational, she also encourages her participants to ask her questions via Slido.
Twice a year, all of us go for a big getaway where we review the previous season and kick off a new one. Offsites are wonderful opportunities to align everyone around the company goals and boost team morale.
At our most recent offsite, our CEO, Peter, presented to us our goals for the upcoming busy season. To get the buy-in from the team, he ran a multiple choice poll:
“Which of these goals can you help to achieve?”
He gave us a minute to ponder this over, submit our answers, and then asked us to think about the ways in which we are going to contribute to achieving the goal. Afterwards, several people shared their visions with the rest of the team.
Offsite is also a great opportunity for reviewing numbers and business updates. At our recent one, our CEO chose to give the drill a different spin and presented the numbers to us in the form of a quiz.
He asked questions such as: “How many events was Slido used on during the fall?” Or: “Which region had the biggest sales last season?” Using a multiple choice poll, he invited our team members to choose one of the options. Once there were enough submissions, he revealed the correct answer.
It was super engaging and fun. And that’s what offsites should be about, right?
Productive and fun are probably the two words that best describe our internal hackathons. For two days, the whole company splits into teams to turn cool ideas into new features or product updates. Slido helps us in that, too.
At the hackathon kick-off, our colleagues pitch their ideas in front of everybody and explain what and who they need for their project. When the pitches are done, the first round of voting takes place. In a multiple choice poll, each one of us picks three ideas that most resonated with us.
After an intense 48 hours, we gather in the common room to hear out the teams with their final presentations.
Then comes the most exciting part: the second round of voting and appointing the winners. Many new features were conceived during hackathons, such as Labels for questions, for example.
Once an idea gets a real shape, it’s time to show it. You’ve guessed it right — a demo session is where our product leads showcase new features and product updates to the rest of the team.
But it’s not just about showing and telling. We wanted to make these sessions conversational. So, throughout the demos, our colleagues constantly send in questions, which the presenters address by the end of their pitch.
After each presentation, we rate the new feature via a rating poll.
The demo session is a win-win for everyone. It helps connect us around the product, and our developers and product managers get priceless instant feedback.
Every other Thursday, our Head of Education and a seasoned moderator, Zuzana, holds a ‘Couch Talk’ in our HQ. It’s a friendly fireside chat where she interviews either an internal or external guest.
During the talk, our colleagues can submit questions for the guests through Slido, and Zuzana incorporates them into her flow. Since we stream the sessions live, even our remote colleagues can join in the discussion.
She also likes to spice up the interviews with fun polls, such as the ‘two truths and lie’ game. She collects one false and two true statements about the guest before the talk, and using a multiple choice poll, asks us to select one that we think is a lie. As a bonus, there’s always some fascinating background story behind each true statement.
At Slido, we do our best to keep in touch with the community of our clients. That’s why our Strategic Partnerships team regularly organizes informal meetups around the world.
As our Partner & Community Marketing Lead, Alex Neczli, put it: “These meetups give us a unique opportunity to build relationships with our clients on a whole different level. What’s more, is that they get to meet each other, discuss common challenges and give each other advice, which is priceless.”
Our moderator, and Tech Partnerships Manager, Martin Srna, collected questions from the audience throughout the chat and had them displayed on the screen. This way, he was always up to date on the questions coming in and he could seamlessly incorporate them into the discussion.
On the other hand, masterclasses are educational sessions that we organize to bring the Slido community together and connect with our users and clients. And we want them to enjoy these sessions as much as possible.
We typically run an icebreaker poll at the beginning of each masterclass to get people in the right mood. As the training starts, we leverage polls once again. This time, it is to discover the audience’s priorities, expectations, and challenges they face with Slido.
Using Slido during our masterclasses gives us invaluable insights into our clients’ minds. It also..
We’re constantly looking for ways to improve your Slido experience to help you run better meetings and events.
In the last few months, we’ve released some important product updates and new features that we’re now excited to share.
Here’s a rundown of the six main updates you need to know about.
Categorize incoming questions with Labels
Whether you run all-hands meetings or conference Q&As, you can now organize the incoming questions with our brand new feature, Labels.
Labels can help you to categorize and cluster similar questions into groups to keep track of the topics people ask about. When a question comes in, you can assign it one or more label.
A few examples of labels you can use:
Internal meetings: cluster questions by topic (e.g., Product, Vacations, Sales) or by the department (e.g., Finance, HR, Internal Communications).
Conferences: group questions by session name, room name or speaker name.
Panel discussions: assign questions to speakers, or organize them by talking points.
Slido automatically enables Labels on every new event you create. If you wish to use it in any of your old events, you have to turn it on in the Event settings.
This is how you can add a label to any question:
After you’ve labeled the questions, you can filter them to make it easier for the facilitator to navigate through them during Q&A. Please note that the labels you add are currently visible only in the Admin view.
This is how filtering works:
Once you filtered the questions by the label, you can display the filtered questions in the Present view. Here’s how you can do it:
Finally, you can also use Labels to analyze and filter the collected questions after your meeting or event. When you export the questions, you’ll see a separate column in the sheet containing the labels you added.
To learn more about Labels, read this article which explains the feature in more detail.
Find all your invoices in one place
Another update we’ve released is access to invoices in the Admin. From now on, you can view all your invoices in a new section under Organization settings. There’s no need to search through your old emails anymore.
Get a better overview of your events
To further improve your Admin experience, we’ve also revamped the ‘My Events’ page.
Now you have all your active, upcoming and past events listed on a single page under the Events tab. This will help you navigate your events faster.
Find your event link in Admin settings
We’ve also made it easier to share your event with the participants once you’ve set it up. Now you can find the Event link directly in your event settings.
Next time you want to collect questions, poll votes or ideas before your meeting, simply click on the copy icon and add it to your calendar invite, email, or message on Slack or Microsoft Teams.
Improvements to our Slack integration
We didn’t forget about our Slack integration either. Earlier this year, we improved the speed and stability of our Slack app.
Having just returned from Slack’s customer conference, our team will continue investing in our partnership with Slack and the next version of the Slido & Slack integration.
We’ll prioritize bringing even more of Slido’s features to Slack in order to reduce the need for context switching for our users. Stay tuned.
Coming soon: Create polls and Q&A right within Google Slides
And finally, we’re working on a new, exciting add-on for Google Slides, so that you don’t have to toggle between your slides and Slido anymore.
This integration allows you to create polls and Q&A instantly, right within your presentation, and display them in real time as you go through your slides.
“Great questions make great town halls,” Chris Kelly, Convene’s Co-Founder, told us recently. But what do you do when questions during the Q&A session are not so great?
To start a conversation with their employees, many companies use Slido to crowdsource questions from the team. It’s priceless to know what’s on people’s mind.
But as human nature goes, the power to speak up might tempt people to post questions that hint a sense of frustration or hostility.
Or they might post irrelevant questions, forgetting that the purpose of your Q&A with the CEO is not to decide what flavor syrup the coffee machine should offer.
To help you handle such situations, here are 5 Slido tips that will reduce the number of negative or irrelevant questions during your company Q&A.
1. Set clear guidelines and expectations
Prevention is better than cure. Setting clear, simple guidelines can drastically improve the quality of questions.
Make sure to clarify your expectations and rules for submitting questions. “You can’t put the tool out there and expect everyone to use it the way you want,” shared our customer, Archontissa Klapaki, Marketing Manager at Upstream.
“We accompanied Slido with the right messages and guidelines at every step of the process. As a result, we now get the quality of questions that we want,” continued Archontissa.
As a starting point, make it clear you’ll only accept questions that align with your company values. You can ask people to do a simple check: “Would you say this to someone’s face or post with your name attached? If not, rephrase it.”
Here are more example guidelines, inspired by Upstream:
We will only address the top 5 questions; please upvote the most relevant ones
If we have already answered a question, we won’t address it again
We only accept constructive business questions; comments won’t be approved
We won’t accept questions that include rude or profane language
Extra tip: To remind people of the guidelines, include them every time you share the link to the Slido, along with a clear message; e.g. “Please make sure the content and tone of your questions are respectful and in line with our company values.”
2. Use moderation to preview questions
Even when you set the guidelines, you might still want to keep some control over the incoming questions. To do that, you can turn on moderation in Slido.
Having moderation on means that every question will have to be approved first; only then will it be displayed for everyone. This short video explains how it works:
Slido Academy: How to moderate the incoming questions - YouTube
If you decide to moderate questions, transparent communication is ever more important. Make sure to explain why you use moderation and what rules people should follow so that nobody feels censored.
Even before you start collecting, every participant should know what makes a question unacceptable and why such questions won’t be approved.
Let your employees know that this is to ensure that none of the displayed questions are offensive, violate your company values or disrespect your workplace policies.
3. Ask people to rephrase their questions
Sometimes a question can be valuable but it is poorly phrased or unconstructive. You don’t have to dismiss it off the bat.
With moderation on, all questions land in the Admin for your approval. So, if you spot a poorly phrased one, simply reply back. You can respond to the sender by commenting on his or her question by using Admin replies.
The participant who asked the question will automatically see your comment posted as ‘Moderator’ below their question on their mobile device and can act on your message.
Usually, reading the moderator’s comments encourages the participants to use more appropriate wording and resubmit the questions.
Depending on the reason why you want the question rephrased, here are some example replies you can use:
Question not in line with the guidelines “Thank you for your question. Please rephrase it to keep the conversation constructive and in line with our Q&A guidelines.”
Poorly-phrased question “Thank you for your question. All questions should use appropriate and civil language in line with our values. Please rephrase the question to keep the tone constructive.”
Comment instead of a question “Thank you for your comment. Please note that we only accept constructive questions. Please rephrase your comment as a question.”
Question about a local issue during global meetings “This is a global company meeting so the questions should be applicable to the whole team to keep the discussion relevant. As your question only applies to the UK office, please raise this point with your local office manager.”
4. Explain the ‘why’ behind unapproved questions
Still, there might be situations when you need to dismiss some questions completely to keep the Q&A relevant for both the leadership and the team.
For example, you might get the same question three times, receive questions not relevant to that particular Q&A forum or on topics that were already covered.
In any case, try to always communicate the reason why you rejected the question. It will help you mitigate the feeling of censorship among the team and make people feel heard.
Here again, you can use Admin replies to communicate back to the audience.
To make it easier for you, we prepared a few templates which you can copy and paste:
Irrelevant question “Thank you for your question. Please note that this topic will be addressed in detail during the next Customer Success Townhall on Monday, 9.00am. Feel free to join the session.”
Duplicate questions “Thank you for your question. A similar one has already been submitted and is in the queue. Please feel free to upvote it.”
Already answered question “Thank you for your question. This has already been answered, so your question will not be approved.”
5. Let people downvote questions
Finally, you can pass even more accountability on the team to select the right questions.
As you know, participants can upvote questions in Slido by default. But you can also turn on downvotes on questions. The more downvotes a question receives, the lower the score and the position of a question.
For example, you might receive a question: “Will we get a new flavor syrup for our coffee machine?”
While 10 people might be eager to know the answer and give it 10 upvotes, there might be other 15 people who understand it’s not a relevant question for a discussion with the CEO and give it 15 downvotes. This way, the question simply won’t make it to the top.
Some of our clients do this and rely on their employees’ sound judgment on which questions are useful and which ones are negative, irrelevant or low priority.
You can use downvotes along with the moderation, or you can fully rely on your team and use downvotes without any further filtering of questions.
Again, clear communication is paramount for getting it right. Make sure to explain the rationale behind using downvotes to avoid discouraging people from posting questions. For example, ask your employees to only downvote questions that are inappropriate, irrelevant or not in line with your company values.
Doing so will help you build trust and make people feel safe to speak up. It will also encourage people to ask questions more constructively.
Getting the Q&A session right can truly boost your all-hands meeting. Using these tips, tried and tested by both our customers and us at Slido, will help you handle insensitive or irrelevant questions during Q&As, build trust and create a constructive dialogue with your employees.
Panel discussions are a tricky business. They can be either very good or very bad, and it all hangs on the moderator.
Don’t panic, though. If you’ve never moderated a panel and you were asked to do one, here’s your source of wisdom.
We asked three of our colleagues – who are seasoned panel moderators – to put together a list of essential tips to deliver a dynamic, high-impact panel discussion. All tried and tested. Try and test them too.
Do thorough research on the topic
To be a really good moderator, you need to fully understand the context. So, before the panel, go in-depth and get familiar with the topic. Don’t let anything surprise you.
If applicable, review your speakers’ published pieces so that you can better relate to their arguments, or refer to their work during the panel discussion.
Besides that, it’s good to be up-to-date on what’s trending in the industry. Scouring through Twitter, or reading a couple of new blog posts from influential people, can do no harm.
Meet the speakers before the panel
Hop on a prep call with all the speakers (or do individual calls) a week or two in advance, to discuss the flow of the panel discussion.
Ask them about the perspective they’re planning to bring to the discussion. This will help you better understand their points and prepare more fitting questions.
As our Brand and Communications Director and experienced facilitator, Kursha Woodgate, said:
“Having some discussion beforehand helps the moderator to get some background on each of the participants and gives the conversation a more natural flow.”
If the time, or packed calendars, don’t allow for it, meet at least on the day of the panel. Last-minute sync is still better than going live for the first time on stage.
Manage time effectively
Always start on time and finish on time. Sounds easy, but with a tight schedule and talkative panelists, this can be quite a challenge.
First, create a detailed agenda: set a realistic timeframe for your opening, introductions and your own questions, while taking into account the audience’s questions as well.
Go through the agenda with the speakers before the panel discussion starts. Tell them how much time (approximately) they have for each answer and let them know that you’re going to interrupt them if they’re running behind.
Get inspired by keynote presentations and keep the clock counter visible, so both you and the panelists know how much time you have left.
Start with a powerful opening
A well-rehearsed and refined intro works like a teaser for the audience, and a kick-starter for the panelists.
Our Head of Strategic Partnerships and a seasoned panel moderator, Juraj Pal, advises:
“After I greet the audience, I share with them the goals of the panel and the reason why we decided to organize it. It helps to set the stage and context for both the audience and the speakers.”
Ask the audience to cast their votes, and once you get enough inputs, invite the panelists to comment on the results. It’s engaging and starts up a dialogue between the speakers and the audience.
“I like asking questions such as, ‘In one word, what comes to your mind when someone says ‘company meeting‘?’. A set of associations start flowing, which gives me plenty of insight into the audience’s minds. I like to use the results to get the participants’ pulse, and as a bridge to the main topic of the panel,” says Juraj Pal.
Extra tip: Prepare short introductions for each panelist and incorporate them into your opening. Don’t let the panelists introduce themselves, to avoid long and dull biographies.
Be strictly neutral
Never take sides or express your own opinions. In the discussion, it’s the panelist’s job to provide and shape arguments, while yours, as a moderator, is to ensure the panel discussion flows and the audience is getting the most out of it.
“Avoid phrases such as, ‘That’s a great point’, ‘Brilliant’, or ‘Interesting’. You’re there to facilitate the conversation, not to tell the audience what you think is cool or not.
Such remarks coming from the moderator can be suggestive, and you want the audience to form their own opinions based on what they’re hearing,” noted Juraj Pal.
Instead, nod slightly, or say, “Thank you, Linda, for that”, which sounds neutral and low-key.
Mix in audience questions throughout the debate
Even if you have carefully prepared a set of your own questions, don’t rigidly stick to your flow.
What really makes a conversation dynamic, are the questions from the audience. After all, they are the main reason why you brought the panel together.
Use a Q&A platform to crowdsource questions from the participants in real time and incorporate the submitted questions into the panel discussion. There are two ways you can pull this off.
“The first one is inserting the incoming questions into the flow continuously.
This option is more challenging, as it requires good multi-tasking skills: You need to watch the incoming questions while listening to what the panelists are saying. However, done well, this style makes for a highly engaging and inclusive discussion.
As a second option, you can collect questions throughout and then address them in the dedicated Q&A slot.
This works well in most cases, but you risk losing the audience, who need to wait out the main discussion before you get to their questions. It’s a dilemma to crack for every panel you moderate,” shares Juraj Holub, chief meeting designer at Slido.
Don’t be afraid to cut the panelists off
Panelists can easily get too absorbed in the conversation and hog the microphone. In that case, you must tactfully cut them off in order to keep the panel discussion moving.
Obviously, this can be tricky, because you don’t want to be rude or offend the speakers.
“Setting expectations is really important here. Having met the panelists before the actual debate helps them to be more forgiving if you cut them short. This also helps build a little rapport to make you more comfortable doing this, and the panelists more likely to accept it,” noted Kursha.
Follow people’s sentence pattern and interject where necessary. “Go for gentle reinforcement statements such as, ‘So what you’re saying is…’, or pass the voice over to another panelist with, ‘Thank you, Mike. Jane, I know you have some experience here too…’.
Subtle body language works magic as well. Try a hand gesture which looks like you want to contribute, or look the panelist in the eye and take a deep breath as if you want to say something,” advises Kursha.
Conclude the panel with a brisk question
When the time of your panel is almost up, make sure that you close the discussion meaningfully. A powerful ending is as important as a powerful opening.
Pose a final, concluding question and invite the panelists to answer it in turn.
To ensure the panel discussion doesn’t drag on for another ten minutes, ask a question that encourages brisk, to the point answers. Take inspiration from political debates, where a moderator invites participants to wrap up their arguments in a quick final statement.
Try something like: “Since we’re almost out of time, in 30 seconds, what is the main message that you would like the audience to take away?” Or, “What’s the final piece of advice you’d like to give the audience?” Remember to keep an eye on the duration of each panelist’s answer.
In a final couple of seconds, thank both the speakers and the audience for their participation.
While moderating a panel can be a toughie, the reward for a job well done will be an engaging, dynamic conversation that’s valuable for both the audience and the panelists themselves.
We hope you found these tips useful and that they will help you nail your first panel discussion. Good luck!