Some words of wisdom from fellow professional panel moderator, Brian Walter: If you are in charge of the panel you want to “cast for contrast.” And I am very deliberate about these words. You are “casting” a panel. You are creating a scene, a ‘panelesque,’ a movie. So you want different characters instead of everybody
Recently, I was asked to co-moderate a panel discussion with a dear friend and colleague. “Wouldn’t it be fun?” she said. Yes, it can be – and will be – because both of us recognize the benefits AND are willing to do the work:
As a panel moderator, there is a distinct art to asking follow-up questions during a panel discussion – those questions you ask to probe further into a specific aspect of the conversation. The key is to listen intently to what each panelist is saying, and where appropriate, deciding how to dig deeper into the topic:
The first few minutes of your panel discussion are absolutely critical. Although people shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, they do. The audience (and panelists) need to know that they are in good hands.
I just inhaled Chip and Dan Heath’s new book: The Power of Moments: Why Certain Moments Have Extraordinary Impact – primarily for the insights into our ability to create magical moments for our customers, our colleagues, friends and family (you can read my review here).
One of the panel moderator’s most important responsibilities is to keep the conversation flowing naturally. Like a good talk show host, here are 12 tips to keep the keep the conversation lively and informative:
You took me from apprehension and a fair bit of anxiety, step by step, into feeling confident and actually looking forward to this event. All this in about an hour. Thank you!
I attended your session on Reinventing the Panel Discussion and came up afterwards saying your session was “worth the price of admission.” Many thanks for an excellent, thought-provoking session!
“Kristin Arnold is truly the best moderator I have had the pleasure to work with. She was instrumental in helping our sales and marketing team properly prepare for and successfully launch an industry accredited webinar which included a panel discussion. Our goal was to make the session educational and engaging while also subtly building brand awareness. Based on comments we received, we did just that! Kristin knows how to ask the right questions in order to stay on track, and how to lead a team to set and achieve their goals and objectives. She is genuine, fun and a pleasure to work with.”
Janine Chung Thompson
“I just ‘binge watched’ all seven videos of yours on moderating panel discussions. I cannot tell how grateful I am to have come across your site! Thank you for the excellent inside track on what to do and what not to do!”
“Kristin – I promised to email you about how my panel on performance anxiety went at the National Flute Association convention last week.
It was great! I continued to study your book and the notes I took from our conversation. Your ideas helped me a great deal in making this an exciting, informative panel. Throughout the rest of the convention, I received a large amount of positive feedback that the panel had been of great benefit to the members in the audience. That was my goal, and I was so happy that we had all achieved it together.
Thank you again for your generosity and kindness in guiding me regarding this experience.”
“I have been to so many bad panels, and been a culprit in putting on more than a few, that I have developed a real aversion to them, but now I have hope that they can be done well! We’re talking about requiring our moderators to go through the training you make available on your site, and at the very least we’re going to up our game in terms of trying to make sure the moderators are up to doing the job the way it should be done. They’re too important not to really spend time training them. We’ve been playing with different formats in recent years, but I am inspired to try some of the new ideas you gave us. So many takeaways from your your Web site, your book and your training!”
“Kristin Arnold is an expert public speaker and moderator who knows how to make meetings engaging, insightful and valuable. In this priceless booklet, she shares her expertise and wisdom to help others lead more effective panels. If you are running a conference, meeting or panel, you owe it to your audience to probe Kristin’s ideas.”
“Your guidebook, Powerful Panels, is a great reminder of some of the basics. I read it a few days before moderating the panel – and it’s amazing how much better the panel discussion was!”
“Panels. The very word causes most of us to groan as it brings up feelings of dislike and disdain. Kristin Arnold has taken the dry, boring, traditional panel format and infused it with excitement, engagement and anticipation all for the audience’s pleasure. Her book Powerful Panels provides a step by step approach to creating 21st Century panels and is a must read for all who plan meetings, events and education formats.”
"Panels can be deadly dull, but they don’t have to be.
Panel Improvement Evangelist Kristin Arnold tells you
how you can make them much, much better."