Talk Addiction

Engage the audience with a Q&A Break.

Rosalba Castaldo
Mar 18, 2020 · 8 min read

Meeting, Summit, Conference, Festival, Fair… Have you booked your next event already? Have you bought the pass for attending your favourite speaker’s Talk?

If you have got the pass and you booked that seat, well you know that this is about you. So stop by and have a look to this article.

Talk addiction is an increasingly growing trend. Lately it’s been a fashion to attend Conferences, awareness events, training, information and professional growth.

The number of meetings, according to the 2015 Report of the Italian Congress and Events Observatory, rose exponentially and with it also the number of participants. Copious budgets for events are invested by companies and third sector entities, in order to train their employees and citizens, through cutting edge services. This is a sector in constant growth, also capable of significantly affecting the economy of the host territory.

So, why are we so attracted by this info-tainment format?
Because it’s strong the desire to reinvent ourselves, to listen to stories that give us hope, energy and that infuse vital energy.

We are aware of the fact that today information is fast, that the world is constantly developing and every simple gesture of our routine requires new knowledge and skills. We are aware that a sudden change is urgent, in order to improve our lifestyle and the ecosystem that surrounds us and, in order to make this happen, we must mobilize. And what better context than a palimpsest of talents, of people who made it?

Talks often are to people like stimulators for ideas and emotions. They push their spectator to get to work, they trace a real emotional path in him, given by a motivational impulse. Knowing the stories of those who managed to establish themselves is for us a push towards the desire for personal growth, towards success. It is an adrenaline rush, a stimulus to always do better and never give up.

Pioneers of this trend and, of course, the best known to all are the Ted Talks, an American format born in 1984, which promote free knowledge and free learning.

We can therefore give the following definition: “Talks are new channels for distributing culture, accessible to all. They create empathy between the speaker and the audience and make those who watch it dream. They instill courage and are based on real, credible and successful experiences. They are taught by industry experts, researchers, professionals who take the field, to enhance a training that does not fully satisfy its users. The speakers who get involved into these performances, through public speaking and self branding, stage a project, a concept or a story, in one word ‘experiences’, as if it were a show. They serve to change and germinate ideas, attitudes, to inspire and illuminate people. “

But do we really know what the profession of the Speaker is about?

They are the industry experts who define what’s worth noting in their niche, who analyze trends and their evolution, they are real dictionaries that introduce us to new technologies how to use them, to new languages, experiments, to new lifestyles, to a correct use of new resources, to social media; they teach us how we can optimize our time, how to have confidence in ourselves, but above all they offer ideas, notes of courage and are a source of inspiration and motivation, they are real innovators.

And it is precisely for these reasons, for the esteem that they inspirit, that they are often idolized (they are seen as real idols).

But how do you become a speaker?
An example is the story of Marta. Marta Basso, entrepreneur and writer born in 1993, with a Master of International Business in Hult, awarded in 2016 among the best 1000 Italian students by the Italian parliament, the Italy USA and UN foundation Impact, named in 2017 # CEO1Month of Adecco Group Italy, brings her story on the scene, introducing her small and common misfortunes that did not bring her down, but from which her successes were born. Her mission, through its #StopWhining media campaign, is to instill pills of courage to those who listen to it and to offer them the opportunity to be able to see, through her experiences and the experiences of those who she introduces in her videos, which today with the social media out there everything is possible and the rest are just excuses.
She defines herself the mother of #StopWhining, a digital movement represented by anyone who has realized that an excuse is only a huge waste of time, and it is what mostly separates us from our goals. Marta, like many other professional speakers, travels around Italy, goes abroad, continually traveling to new destinations, new meetings and new possibilities, dividing her time between what is her role as an entrepreneur and the figure of the Speaker . Busy and intense days like hers require considerable time management, and the services and tools that could assist this category of experts are still limited.

We therefore conducted a research study towards this category of “new professionals”, mainly investigating what their needs and difficulties were, regarding habits and actions in playing the role of speaker.

First, we have outlined 3 different types of speakers: professionals, beginners and occasional guests. We also traced a common Professional Journey consisting of 4 phases:

1 recruitment & bureaucracy;

2 training;

3 speech;

4 connect to people.

We have focused on defining what the needs of the third step are. The speech phase, seen within the entire path that brings the speaker to the stage, can be understood as the “spannung”, the moment of maximum tension in a story, in which the protagonist must give his best to overcome the adversity and achieve your goal. The goal of the Speaker, in his case, is to be able to get his message across, trying to establish an almost spiritual bond with the public.

The empathic link with the public, the so-called engagement, could be strengthened by a real moment of confrontation, giving them a moment of listening, inviting them to ask questions at the end of the Speech. Some Events already include these short intervals, defined as Q&A Session, within the program, but there are still few initiatives that offer this additional service, while others let the various speakers choose. Yet foreseeing a moment of Q&A Session could be important both for the public that would be integrated into an active and no longer passive involvement, and for the speaker who would welcome the favor of his audience.

The idea of adding a session of questions at the end of the speech is certainly an interesting hypothesis, but what inconvenience would it entail? There could be cases in which the Speaker invites his viewers to ask him questions, but none of them accepts the possibility and consequently embarrassing moments of silence would arise or, this could raise serious doubts about the effectiveness of speech. Conversely, there may be cases in which audience members welcome the opportunity offered by the speaker, but resulting in real protagonism moments that take away precious time from the real contents of the talk. Managing a not previously defined interval could therefore be a double-edged sword for the speaker.

What if there was a solution that would allow a controlled, but at the same time democratic, Q&A Session to be held regularly?

The solution is there! And it is digital, fast, simple and effective. It’s called Q-Break!

Q-Break is an App that allows the “public” user to exit their comfort zone and simultaneously send to other viewers the question you are afraid to ask the speaker in front of you. Say goodbye to the insecurities and discomfort of having to intervene in front of an audience of hundreds or thousands of people. Just one click to extinguish all your doubts.

The Application in question consists of two User Journeys: one for the public user and another intended for the speaker user.

The advantage for the Speaker User, compared to other digital solutions that allows the Q&A session, is the automatic filtering of questions based on topics previously selected by the speaker himself.

Q-Break is the App that allows the Speaker to answer questions from his audience, without having to be embarrassed by having to physically choose among the people who ask to be able to intervene and serves to facilitate the active involvement of the participants.

It is up to the Speaker to choose how much time to devote to the Q&A Session, because it is a BREAK and, as such, can be managed. The term Break was chosen specifically to indicate a moment of pause, of conviviality in which to interact with one’s interlocutors.

Another interest from the speaker, could be the evaluation of their performance. The Application does not allow the public to leave a suggestion or feedback regarding the Speech, but the speaker, based on the questions he has received, can certainly ascertain which topics the public has asked to investigate further and, therefore, on what issues he has been more elusive.

This application does not risk changing the structure of the Talk, but is specifically designed to fall within the times already provided for a Speech, without having to stop storytelling, indeed depending on the choice of the speaker, it could become part of storytelling, as a break provided by the history.

In a future implementation, through the machine learning technology, the App will even be able to analyze the most requested topics.

Furthermore, Q-Break could be the common digital solution for all the events to which you will go, offered as a plus by the management of the Conferences.

The only thing the viewer in these contexts is called to do is sit, listen, observe and be inspired. But all this lacks that participatory moment, which is not always foreseen within the program of these initiatives, and in cases where it is foreseen it does not allow everyone to get to know their idol, through networking time. Q-Break wants to offer a solution to this problem. Public speaking is a profession in all respects and, as such, it must be helped with digital and non-digital media that help the qualified professional to carry out his / her task. We wanted to create this!

Not only Talk! The sad and dark current situation shows a scenario that envisages the adoption of innovative measures for online collaboration.

Q-Break is a digital solution that can also be used in other contexts both physical and virtual, such as master classes, workshops, online lessons etc.

We want to give life to all these opportunities!

Who are we? We are a team of young Developers who want to offer new virtual meeting and confrontation spaces.

If you have come to the end of the article, it means that you are among the protagonists of our story, so you just have to test the App and leave us your feedback to help us understand how to improve our product. Thanks!

Oppotunity Team:

Rosalba Castaldo

Giovanni Nastro

Antonio Alfonso

Davide Pedro Fastoso

Andrea Laiena

Vincenzo Coppola.

A special thanks to: Marta Basso, Fabio Frizzi, Marco Barattini, Giulia Paone, our fabulous Mentor Giovanni Monaco, and all Apple Developers Academy Students.

Apple Developer Academy | Federico II

The Apple Developer Academy is a partnership between the…

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