What can we do next week, next month and next year in order to moderate better panels?  Professional Panel Moderator Kristin Arnold asked this question of Brian Walter, Founder of Extreme Meetings and member of the US Speaker Hall of Fame.  He’s a freakin’ brilliant meetings maestro who amps up the energy, engages audiences as a way of life.


Video Transcript

Kristin:  Brian, what action steps can our audience to do next week, next month and next year in order to moderate extreme panels?

Brian:  I would say next week it would make sense if you say what is the next time I’m going to be in charge of producing a panel. So identify what that is and so it is to write down, to make a commitment that you’re going to do it effectively. You’re not going to allow the panelists to have the easy way out. As you say, you are the advocate for the audience.

Many executives or many meeting planners choose a panel because it’s easy, not because it’s effective. Or they choose it because they’re eternal optimists. Well, if we put this group of people together, perhaps some magical thing will happen because there will be puppies and money falling from the sky, and they just hope that something magical is going to happen and it’s usually not unless you structure it. So next week would be “okay, making a commitment. Identify what is the next panel? Make that commitment “I am going to produce this differently.” And then next month is—really I would say the month before the panel—that’s when you start working on the format.

If you ask somebody to be on the panel, don’t talk to them much about what they’re actually going to do other than the most rudimentary more than a month ahead of time because they don’t care. And whatever you say they’re not going to do anything. So in this context, next month would really be a month before the panel. You start identifying different formats, different structures that you’re going to use. Do it with somebody; don’t be a lone ranger on this and then start communicating it to them so that they can prepare for it. Next year basically you want to be sharing with your colleagues how great your panel went.

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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.

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