What is your favorite format for panel discussions at meetings, conferences, and conventions? Professional Panel Moderator Kristin Arnold asked this question of the late Warren Evans, professional speaker, futurist and member of the Canadian Speaker Hall of Fame.
Kristin: Warren, what is your favorite panel format?
I think when you get a specific group together, and if you can get them together without the ubiquitous table shield wall between them and the audience, I’d rather have stools or armchairs or just about anything on a stage and get them formatted in a semicircle so that the audience can see everybody but the panel people can see each other as well. And what you’re trying to do is get the audience to be in the other chair if you like, in a conversation that’s going on between these people about some specific expertise or perspective to bring to the discussion. You can get into composition, of the panel, and how you put it together and all that kind of stuff, but in terms of format of that, you want everybody to get a chance to get their opinion out. I like the panel being able to see each other and to have no barrier between them and the audience. Describe the worst panel you’ve ever seen and then let’s see how many elements of that entire exercise we can do completely differently.
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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!