What are some simple, low cost alternatives to using more pricey Audience Response Devices (ARD) 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

Brian, are there simple, low cost alternatives to the high tech Audience Response Devices?

I’ll give you the best version and then the free, well not free but they’re really low cost version here. One is I use small 4×6 inch colored flags, and that’s great when you have like three choices, people have flags. People don’t hold up flags. What do they do with flags?

And this looks great on Skype too. So, that they wave flags and that’s exciting. So when you say, “Here are three choices. Where do you want to go next? Vote with your flags.” Think of all the stimuli that’s happening. People are thinking, choosing, reaching out, holding up a flag, waving that flag. You don’t have to tell them to wave a flag; they just do that. Their little reptilian brain stems is doing all this [makes noise] and it’s like this is very stimuli orientated, and I’m looking around to see, I put out my yellow flag. Am I in the minority? Am I in the majority? What’s going on? So I’m processing all of this. You as the facilitator on stage, “Well, it looks like the majority of flags are red to answer this question, so audience is in charge. Okay, panel. Here’s where we’re going now.” So it’s a physical way to interact.

You can do the same thing with color 3X5 cards, or color 8 ½ X 11 cards. That’s the poor man’s way for using flags.

 

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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!