How to use peer pressure on a panelist to “shame them into greatness” during panel discussions  at meetings, conferences, and conventions.  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, can you explain how you use peer pressure on a panelist to “shame them into greatness”?

Brian:  Yes. Now, it’s not actual shaming, but it’s the idea that most of them why do they often times suggest a panel? Because they don’t want to do any prep work. Oh yeah, instead of doing a presentation, “We’ll just do a panel” which is code for: “I don’t wish to invest any time preparing for this meeting so I’m merely going to do a panel because it’s easier for me, and I will not make any consideration of whether this is better for the audience. You often times get that with company-type meetings here.

So, as a facilitator, it’s your job to overcome their desire—I mean, I’m being real candid, not naming not naming companies. But that’s what’s really going on. When they suggest a panel, it’s because often times code for I don’t wish to do work. So the shaming part is—well, you name it. You name the pain. And again, what is it in that case they care about. They wish to look good, they don’t wish to lose face when they’re in front of people. So then you start to…here’s how you will come across insightful. Here’s how you will look great. Here’s how you will get a laugh. Here’s how you get to express your incredible insight and great personality because you are such a good executive. You share that with them, and they want it. And then they start to hear—there’s always—and you have four or five people on a panel, there is always going to be one or two that are way sharper than the other ones. So when they start it’s “Oh yeah, I could ask this”. Others will go “What! (makes noise). I’ve got to step it up because I see that there’s other savvier people than me are on this deal so I better get off my lazy duff and actually prepare for this. So using that peer pressure really helps.


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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!