Professional Panel Moderator Kristin Arnold asks Brian Walter, Founder of Extreme Meetings and member of the US Speaker Hall of Fame to share his favorite format for projecting more entertainment into a panel discussion at meetings, conferences and conventions.

Video Transcript

Kristin: Brian, what is your favorite format for putting more entertainment into a panel discussion?

Brian: Let’s say you’re doing a sales event, and you’re going to do a panel of VPs or something like that – instead of “Ellen”, “Sellin” and so again right there. What do they need to do? They need to dance on. She always has everybody dance. You have everybody dance. You have some sort of surprise like Ellen does, a surprise type of thing.

Another format that I really like to do is copy more of like the late night talk shows. Okay, for example, there was a department store called the Bon Marche; it was called the Bon (now it’s Macy’s) that was like all other department stores in the United States, but they called themselves The Bon. So I created the “Late Meeting Show with David Letter Bon.” Now the late meeting show with David Letter Bon so now you’re obviously doing a Lettermanesque knock off. Now as an audience member you can tell me… Okay now what’s the first thing that’s going to happen? I come out as the moderator and do what? A monologue. After that I’m going to I sit down and what do I have, a top ten list. I am going to have a guest. Am I going to have a musical guest? Of course! Stupid pet tricks. “Stupid rep tricks”. Like sales rep tricks.

Use the structure that we’re used to with Leno or Fallon. I’m pretty sure it’s Jimmy Fallon who does the “News Jam.” You take these popular culture things we usually see through late at night or Saturday Night Live skits and things like that, and we mix those in with appearances by experts or executives, and you make it more of a show. It’s an extreme panel because you’re still getting their insights and stuff, but you are making it a lot more entertaining because you are providing entertaining formats.

Looking for More?

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!