How many times have you logged on to social networking websites and noticed an Ask Me Anything session? A lot of actors and public personalities do these sessions to interact with their fans and followers. A session like this humanizes them to their fans and helps build a more robust public image.

The purpose of conducting Ask Me Anything sessions at business entities is no different. A C-Suite executive, generally the CEO, conducts an AMA for the firm’s employees to show them that they are all working towards a common goal.

The CEO shouldn’t just be a figurehead who oversees the firm, but they need to be a real person. A real leader with strengths and flaws who can be looked to for guidance when required. Ask Me Anything sessions essentially serve as a team bonding session.

In this article, we will talk all about running a successful Ask Me Anything with the CEO, how to ensure it is successful, the importance of it, and much more.

What are Ask Me Anything Sessions?

When an organization has more than 50 employees, it becomes next to impossible to forge personal relationships. Ask Me Anything questions solve that problem to some extent by allowing employees to build a rapport with the CEO in a public forum. 

Ask Me Anything questions give the CEO a chance to display their human side to the employees, including their strengths and weaknesses. These sessions make the CEO an inspirational person and not just an influential name.

Ask Me Anything questions can also be a part of team bonding activities because they create a bond between the CEO and the rest of the team/organization.

Ask Me Anything sessions are usually conducted after careful consideration. A list is prepared basis research to ensure that maximum issues are covered. These Ask Me Anything sessions or team bonding activities last for around 40 minutes in one go, a healthy chunk of a working day to spend in the conversation for the organization’s future benefit as a whole.

A good way of ensuring the Ask Me Anything questions are a success is continuous feedback through surveys and mails and conducting these sessions regularly. Also, making the sessions engaging is one aspect the HR managers have to see through. There is no point in conducting any activity if it ultimately leads to boredom within the work environment.

Ask Me Anything questions are usually conducted offline. But it does not mean that there is no possibility of them being conducted online. With the pandemic forcing us to reassess our working hours, modes, and schedules, most of us are switching to the remote working module. Thus, even Ask Me Anything questions and sessions can be conducted online, in small batches, for a better impact and clarity.

Why Ask Me Anything Questions?

Before the HR manager drafts the best questions to ask a CEO or good questions to ask a CEO during an Ask Me Anything session, it is imperative to know the importance of these sessions. There is no point robotically planning and executing an Ask Me Anything questions session without knowing how it will be affecting the employees and the organization.

Here are a few reasons why an Ask Me Anything questions session is essential: 

  • These sessions serve as team bonding activities that humanize the CEO
  • Ask Me Anything questions and sessions ensure that the employees get an insight into the CEO’s mind
  • If planned and executed effectively, Ask Me Anything questions and sessions also serve as a great way to open a two-way communication channel between the employees and the CEO. Transparent and effective communication is the key to healthy relationships, further giving way to a healthier work environment and increasing employee productivity. 
  • This is also a great way to engage employees effectively. Ask Me Anything questions and sessions encourage communication lines between the employees and the CEO and give them food for thought for their micro-level conversations. 

Ask Me Anything questions and sessions are vital to improving engagement and communication within the company. They establish the CEO as an approachable figure rather than as a name to look up to. Conducting these at regular intervals is a fruitful exercise for the organization.

How to Run a Successful Ask Me Anything Questions and Answers Session with a CEO?

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Due to the pandemic, remote work has become the new norm. So, let’s discuss some online modes of conducting the AMA session too. An Ask Me Anything questions and answers session can be conducted on the company intranet. Most of these steps can be implemented for an offline session, or even if the organization is small enough to currently not have an intranet.

Here are a few tips and steps to run a successful Ask Me Anything questions and answers session with the CEO:

  • Buy-in from the Management: Without getting buy-in from the management and the CEO for the idea of conducting an Ask Me Anything questions and answers session, there is no point in conducting the same. Have a meeting with the relevant senior management and the CEO to determine whether it will be useful for your organization.
  • Time and Mode: Once it has been decided to plan an Ask Me Anything questions and answers session, the next step is to decide the time and mode of conducting the same. Decide a suitable time for the session, one that does not disrupt work and productivity. For online communication and running the session, the organization’s intranet is usually the best option as all the employees are familiar with it. In the absence of it, however, you can look at other modes. Or else, there is always the option of conducting it offline in smaller batches, given the current situation. 
  • Establish Rules: For any session within the organization, there need to be specific rules and regulations established to ensure their success. 
  • Amp up the Comfort Level: Conducting these sessions is not an easy task in large organizations. HR Managers have to ensure both parties are comfortable to let the questions flow freely. In most cases, the first Ask Me Anything questions and answers session serves as an icebreaker. But, the story may change with regular sessions and feedback.
  • Promote and Publicize: It is essential to establish the importance of the event. This does not mean that there are repercussions if the employees do not attend it. No, it merely means that the HR manager should publicize and promote the Ask Me Anything questions and answers session efficiently in advance. The employees should know that this is an excellent opportunity for them to learn the tricks of the trade. 
  • Two-way Communication: It has to be two-way communication. Yes, the employees should know the best questions to ask their CEO. But, the CEO also needs to know what questions to ask the executives.
  • Support: We often ignore the importance of the backend work that often makes such programs and sessions a success. Do not commit the same mistake. Create a temporary or permanent support team. This team will help you in conducting the Ask Me Anything questions and answers sessions every time. This team should also be instrumental in helping you analyze the effects once it has been done. It is also responsible for guiding the employees about what questions to ask and all the other queries.
  • Feedback and Follow-up: One cannot stress much on the importance of collecting feedback. How do you measure the abstract success of the session? Indeed, you can get feedback and a vast number of attendees, but how do you put it in figures?? You need to know how the employees perceive the session, and for that, you need to have a feedback collection system in place. Moreover, following up on specific intervals is also the right way of gauging the general impression.

Ask Me Anything sessions are not just events that you can conduct and forget. Instead, these events should guide the employees on the best questions to ask a CEO. Plus, extending some guidance to the CEO in planning questions to ask executives is a good exercise. If planned and conducted well, Ask Me Anything questions and answers sessions can prove to be extremely beneficial.

Popular Ask Me Anything Questions to Ask

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You need to be aware of where you are conducting a session. At the same time, you have to plan and establish the rules for any session. For instance, an internal session, whether online or offline, will be freer than a public one. Be sure to keep space in mind while planning and asking questions.

Here are a few questions to ask a CEO and also questions to ask executives. 

Best Questions to Ask a CEO

  • Given how volatile the times are, how would you quantify your employees’ works, or how would you set the Key Performance Indicators? How do you further expand them into quarterly and yearly goals? 
  • What do you think is more important for overall organization development; its dynamic values or its static vision and mission?
  • What would you say is better: using the organization’s technology to save lives or make more money?
  • How do you think I can measure my success? How can I keep measuring it at different stages of my life?
  • What strengths do you see in me, and how do you think it fits in the organization’s goals and visions, overall?
  • What should I be better at if I someday wish to create and run my own organization? More importantly, what should I do today to be better at what I do?
  • How do I know if I am adding value to the organization?
  • What is that one quality that you look for in all prospective employees?
  • What is the biggest challenge that the [company product] can solve for me?
  • What’s the new skill that I can learn today to make my professional tomorrow better?

Questions to Ask Executives

  • What do you think are the most critical leadership traits for an organization of this size?
  • Who are the leaders you admire, and what is the reason behind it?
  • What is that one absolute truth or ideology you believe? 
  • Do people make any false instant assumptions about you?
  • In your entire career span, who is that one colleague who has inspired you the most and why? 
  • How do you solve tense situations at work? How do you ensure that personal tiffs between you and your colleague do not affect your work?
  • What are you learning? What do you hope to learn? Do you think the organization can help you there?
  • Do you understand the values and vision that the organization advocates? 
  • If you were to be a professor or a teacher, what subject would you teach? (This question may seem a little frivolous, but serves as an insight into the executives’ interests and ideologies and how well it fits with the virtues of the organization.)
  • Whom do you consider as a mentor? Would you share any situation where that mentorship has been of immense use to you?

These Ask Me Anything questions are a good ice breaker. It also gives a peek inside the psyche of those involved, the CEO and the employees.

Do you Need to Conduct Ask Me Anything Questions and Answers Sessions?

Yes, it serves as one of the best team bonding activities for increasing employee engagement. Further, it also serves as a clear communication flow between the CEO and the executives, and their supervisors. This is an exercise that will help create the leaders of the future.

Have you planned and conducted AMAs at your organization? How were the experience and aftermath? Do share with us at @HarmonizeHQ.