I was at the People’s Forum on Carbon Tax in Perth last night.
Picture this. A room of 220 randomly chosen members of the public. The session was being televised live on Sky News. Each person wanted to ask a question of the Prime Minister, who was there for an hour.
She handled each question well, without making a speech in her responses. As the session wore on I was growing increasingly anxious about being able to ask ‘my’ question. I realised that they wouldn’t choose me, as my stunning youthful good looks would be too much of a distraction for the PM and she’d start to blush 🙂
However, I did notice that this annxiousness was increasing across the room. The organisers did say at the start that only 23 people out of the 220 would be able to ask their question. I began to wonder, “How could have this session been improved? How could we give more people the opportunity to ask their question?”
Firstly I’m interested in your ideas. Just leave a comment below (there’s a great prize for the best one – and I promise to share all the answers in my next post and newsletter.)
And I’d like to throw in one of my own. I used it in the Farm Business Resilience Program. This was run across WA and assisted farmers to develop a strategic plan for their business. The sesssions were run in groups of farmers – some travelling several hours just to be there.
Coincidentally, the session was about Climate Change. The first one we ran involved a presentation from an expert, followed by a few questions. Result? Abject disaster!
So we reworked it this way. Everyone was seated at tables of 6-8 people. We asked each table to discuss and agree on their ‘Top Three’ questions about Climate Change. The responses were group into common themes and the expert presenter had to provide an answer on each (can’t be that hard!)
Result? Way more engaging, helped deal with the scepticism surrounding the topic and all questions answered.