Sometimes, you just need to let the audience drive the conversation. It really has to be a perfect storm of conditions:
Everyone loves a good debate -especially if there is a strong sense of an even-handed process facilitated by a skilled moderator, there are opportunities for the audience to get involved in the conversation, AND that they get to vote as to who wins!
San Diego ComicCon is the ultimate panel discussion event of the year. Packing Hall H with over 6,500 people (many of whom stand in line overnight) to hear from their favorite actors, programs, and authors. What’s even more crazy is that the panel format is the dominant session format! Who knew panels were so attractive
I am always trolling for great ideas to add more pizzazz to your panel discussion and just stumbled on Erin L. Albert’s blog where she gave 7 Steps to a Unicorian, Utterly Unforgettable Panel Discussion. My favorite is number 5:
What kind of panel moderator are you?
If you have prepared the panelists appropriately and kicked the panel discussion off well, the conversation will start to flow on its own and the panelists won’t be coming back to you for ping-pongs or hot potatoes. However, you may need to interject here and there to keep the conversation moving at a brisk pace.
At some point during a panel discussion, the panel moderator will turn to the audience and ask for questions. Most folks call this “Audience Q&A” where the moderator takes questions from the audience via text, question card, open microphone, or Oprah-style, depending on the event.
Ugh. Sometimes, someone from the audience asks a lame question in a panel discussion. As the panel moderator OR a panelist, I believe you have two options:
I am often asked, “When do I NEED to use microphones during my panel discussion?”
It’s sad, but true. No one really thinks about the panel moderator during the marketing and promotion process. Although the panel moderator is not directly responsible for marketing the program, he or she can certainly help the meeting organizers promote the event and the panel session.