What is the future of panel discussions at meetings, conferences, and conventions?  Kristin Arnold asked this question of Boston Globe journalist and professional panel moderator, Scott Kirsner, who also wrote the highly rated Harvard Business Review article on How to Moderate a Panel Like a Pro.

Video Transcript

What do you see as the future of the panel discussion as a format at meetings?

I think the future is just trying to get more unpredictability and audience interaction into it. I was just watching some video for a story I am working on where the MC of the conference (its entrepreneurs presenting, the panel is investors who are supposed to be giving feedback) and the MC of the conference is basically prodding the investors to commit to make investments while the entrepreneurs are on stage. And just that unpredictability of like, is he going to be able to do it, is he not?  You know they wound up actually making some commitments to invest money.

So I think just getting that element of unpredictability into it. And then also figuring out just new ways to involve the audience either work their questions into it or have a seat for the audience to come up and moderate parts of the discussion – for an audience member to come up and moderate parts of the discussions.  I don’t think it’s the technological future so much of like voting and asking questions via social media. But I think it’s just more like figuring out how to serve the audience and integrate them into what happens more.

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Kristin Arnold, professional panel moderator, and high stakes meeting facilitator is on a crusade to make all panel discussions informative, interactive, and interesting.   Specifically, she wants to help YOU become a better panel moderator.  Why?  Because 95% of annual meetings have panel discussions – and according to the 2014 Panel Report, it’s a fifty-fifty proposition they are any good at all!  Expectations decrease dramatically when your attendees walk in and see the traditional draped head-table with microphones on short stands.  There are sooooo many other ways to have a stimulating conversation!  So let’s increase the probability of success for your next panel discussion with these resources.

And, you can always go back to the playlist for more Powerful Panel Discussion Tips!