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
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:
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.
As the moderator, you are the audience’s chief advocate. If someone’s boring you, then chances are they are boring the audience as well. If you think they are going on too long and not making their point, you need to intervene.
When doing your research in preparation for your panel discussion, find “the dead space” in the topic.
As a panel discussion expert, I am always on the lookout for new ideas, formats, and styles. So I’ve set up some Google Alerts to let me know when there is a blog post or video that includes “panel discussion,” “panel moderator” or “panelist.” And I read and watch them ALL. I know, you’re thinking,
I’ve talked about the importance of picking “DEEP” panelists – Diverse, Experienced, Eloquent, and Prepared. But what happens if those panelists don’t get along?