How to Get Executives to Prepare for a Panel Discussion

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What are the odds of getting the executives together to prepare for your upcoming panel discussion?  Shockingly low!

As the panel moderator, you absolutely know the key to success is in the preparation.

But here’s the challenge: Most panel moderators email the executives saying something like, “I want to go over some of the question formats and things that we’ll be doing with the panel blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.”  Gee, here’s a surprise. They never call you back.  They are going to be dismissive to you because it’s not about you, even though you’re trying to help them!   Why?  Because you don’t tell them what’s in it for them.

I know.  You really want to say, “Excuse me, Mr. and Ms. Executive.  I am your panel moderator.  We need to get together, so you don’t look foolish.”  Ummm…no.  You can’t be that brazen, but you can approach them individually. Call the gatekeeper and/or send an email that says, “I’m going to ask a few prepared questions in such a way that you can come across looking brilliant. Do you have five minutes to chat?”  Oh yes – now they will talk to you!

Brian Walter, Founder of Extreme Meetings and panel moderator extraordinaire shared another great strategy to get the attention of your executives: “Every executive has a pet project. Every leader has a pet initiative. Find out what it is because they want to advance that initiative. When you can tie what they want to what you want to cover then it’s going to work. So, let’s say they’re talking about how to speed up our rate of closing. So, I want to ask them questions about how quickly we can change the culture of closing in your organization.  ‘Do you have five minutes to talk about that?’ They will always, always, always say yes. Then you can prep them with question formats because they see the value of it. So, you always got to make it about them.”

Most executives are extremely busy and intend to look over their notes on the plane trip over to the conference. Make sure you prep them well so they can provide tremendous value to the audience and look brilliant during the panel discussion!

 

Related Articles:

Panel Discussion Technique: Question Behind the Question

How to Create GREAT Questions for Your Panelists to Answer during Your Panel Discussion

Panel Discussion Tip #143 with Terry Brock: Visual Do’s & Don’ts for Virtual Panels

Kristin Arnold, professional panel moderator, and high-stakes meeting facilitator, shares her best practices for interactive, interesting, and engaging panel presentations. For more resources like this, or to have Kristin moderate your next panel visit the Powerful Panels official website.

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Kristin Arnold
Kristin Arnold
Award-winning author Kristin Arnold is an expert panel moderator and professional meeting facilitator.
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