Adobe Connect Blog

Secrets of Webinar Hosting: Canned Questions

Guest Blogger: Marc Gutman, Lighthouse Conferencing


When I was a kid I loved magic and magicians.  Doug Henning and David Copperfield were the coolest!  Things have changed a lot since then, Henning still, cool Copperfield less cool, but the one lesson that’s remained constant is: Magicians don’t reveal the how of their tricks to the public.  It’s the fastest way to get kicked out of the magic community.

Well, I’m going to let you in on one of the most kept secrets behind the scenes “magic tricks” to the world of webinar hosting.  Canned Questions.

Canned Questions

The question and answer (Q&A) period at the end of the webinar can be one of the most valuable segments of your entire presentation.  You’ll be surprised at the quality of questions your audience can come up with.  The toughest questions can also be your best chance to really explain, clarify, or validate your solution/offering/company and oftentimes it’s these Q&A sessions that convince a prospect to continue their engagement with your company — and that folks is what this is all about isn’t it?

However, it can be incredibly damaging to your image if you open up the webinar for questions and all you hear is crickets.  It’s typical human nature to let someone jump off the cliff before you test how deep the water is and many times we just need someone to ask that first question. Sometimes people are clamoring to ask questions, but what if they aren’t?

Prepare 5-7 canned questions.  They should be good thoughtful questions that you’re hoping your audience will ask. If you’re stumped ask a colleague, customer, or friend to rattle off some questions — these people can usually come up with a full list in 30 seconds when it’s taking you two hours of procrastinating.

If you’re getting crickets put on your acting hat and announce to the audience – “Okay, looks like we have our first question from Bob from Omaha.  Bob asks….”

This is how we’d typically do it when using a Q&A pod with a broadcast (i.e. one way) audio conferencing option.  If you have open phone lines during this period you have two options:

1. If using an Op Assist service you can supply your Operator with the questions and have them break in and announce the question if the silence is deafening.

2. On a standard reservationless conferencing line you can have one of your colleagues break in and ask a question.

No matter what format you use, once you break the ice with one or two “canned questions” you’ll be surprised at how fast your audience will chime in and start asking their own questions.

So there you have it. I opened up the webinar pro kimono so to speak. I just hope they don’t kick me out of the webinar pro magic castle.

Lighthouse Conferencing is a Adobe Connect partner that offers everything from creating a reservationless conference call to audio and web conferencing. Find and learn more about Lighthouse Conferencing at, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.