8 Steps to Create an Ask Me Anything Session
Part two of a two-part series
Before you jump into creating an AMA, I recommend getting oriented with Ask Me Anything: A Unique Way to Connect to a Distributed Workforce.
Identify the executive who could benefit from participating in an AMA and decide on the theme. Try to find a pillar to lean your pitch on. Can you tie the AMA to a product release? Is there a major strategy shift or reorganization afoot? Perhaps the exec won’t get to a certain region this year, so the AMA can stand in for a trip.
Invite employees. You should know whether anyone can join, or if the AMA is limited to certain departments or demographics. Regardless, make sure people sign up, so you can measure interest versus actual engagement. A good way to invite employees is with a note in an employee newsletter or with targeted emails.
Here’s a sample message:
Jane Doe Wants You to Ask Her Anything! Want to know more about Company’’s recently announced [brand partnership]? Interested in hearing about [industry] disruption and the future of [industry]? Join an AMA featuring Jane Smith on Date at 11:30 AM ET. You’ve got questions. Jane has answers. RSVP here and submit questions in advance to [IC Employee].
Collect questions in advance. Doing so serves several purposes: First, it allows employees to submit anonymous questions, in case the topic is sensitive. Second, it allows employees to participate in absentia if they have a conflicting appointment or are in a different time zone. Third, advance questions give you an idea of what’s on people’s minds, which you can share with the executive. Last, you can bank questions that you can drop into the chat, should there be a lull in the conversation.
On the day of the AMA, send a reminder note to everyone. Also, save the list of names of employees who signed up, so you can send them follow-up materials.
Open up the chat room and welcome everyone. At this time you can drop in some housekeeping language, like reminding them of the AMA topic or to not ask questions that have already been asked by others. The executive can then jump in and prompt for questions, or you can start with a pre-submitted question to get the ball rolling. An hour is a good length of time.
Once the AMA is finished, download the transcript and share it with the executive and relevant stakeholders.
Measure the success of the AMA. Ask the manager how she felt about the conversation, what insight she gained from the questions, any surprises, and — most important — whether it was valuable. Also, poll everyone who signed up for the chat.
If agreed to by the manager, edit the transcript so it’s a readable Q&A (not a sloppy transcript) and publish it to your intranet. Don’t forget to report back once more on the metrics for that second posting — the executive surely will be curious about how the conversation performed.
If you want help with creating an editorial strategy for your team, reach out. I’d be happy to provide some advice and consultation. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.