Obviously, everyone has an opinion. But if you have a lot to say about the topic, then you should be a panelist and not the moderator. Moderators who have deep expertise and opinions on the topic tend to jump into the discussion – maybe more frequently than they should – and then who facilitates the moderator?

For some specific formats, the moderator may be expected to participate as well. It’s not easy to combine the role of moderator and expert as they may end up dominating the discussion and hog the show!

There are times, however, where it may be appropriate for the moderator to add his/her own opinion and perspective to the conversation.

Here are some examples:

  • Opening remarks on the topic (in a balanced way) before formally posing the issue to the panelists
  • Transitions between the last question and the next one
  • When the question has not been adequately answered. If you have given the panelists (or the audience) the opportunity to answer and you get nothing or you have something significant to add, make your contribution at the end of the conversation

The moderator should make everyone else look smart while providing tremendous value to the audience. When it comes to contributing content, the moderator is the “fallback”, just in case the wisdom isn’t in the room.

To learn more steps to successfully moderate a panel discussion like a pro, try this user-friendly guide.

Related Articles:

How Much Research Should the Moderator Do?

FAQ: Handling the “Expert” on the Panel

Moderating a Panel of Your Peers – What’s Different?

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.