How can a panelist can engage the audience during a panel discussion at a meeting, conference or convention?  Kristin Arnold, Professional Panel Moderator asked this question of Patricia Fripp, Executive Speaker coach and member of the US Speaker Hall of Fame.

 

Video Transcript

What can panelists do to engage the audience and make them feel more connected to the panelists?

It might be off track, but this is such good advice. You have met my very good friend and best client Dan Maddux the executive director of American Payroll Association.  Smart gentleman. They have informal events, they have head tables on the stage that there different people have contributions to the meeting and then someone will introduce the guest speaker. And before they do that they invite the celebrity panel to get off the stage. But he rehearses how they walk in. You are not taking your handbags or your briefcases. He makes it smooth and tidy looking. Let us overlook the visual aid, because if the visuals distract from the words you do.

Now what I coach executives is: You cannot, and it is not only executives, it is any manager or anyone who is on the panel, if you are on the panel, and you are not listening, taking notes or really paying attention to the other panelists, it is going to be totally distracting.

If you have to look down and you are showing the top of the head, it is almost like now I am writing up what I am going to say, talk about, you mean, you are important enough to be on the panel, and you are just thinking about what you are going to say now? What an insult to me who is giving you my time.

One, it goes back to be prepared. Certainly have bullet points, as you hear the panelists you might write something down that they say. That is very different than being disengaging until it is your turn.

 

 

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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!