How do you make the panelists comfortable on stage during a panel discussion at meetings, conferences and conventions? Professional Panel Moderator Kristin Arnold asked this question of Joe Calloway, Business Keynote Speaker, panel moderator, and member of the US Speaker Hall of Fame.

Video Transcript

Kristin: Joe, how do you like to make the panelists feel comfortable on stage?

Joe: I assure them that I’m not going to throw them any curveballs. Now, I might throw a curveball to a CEO because—and you know, we would probably say that beforehand. I would say, “Listen if something occurs to me that I think I need to ask you. It might be a little touchy. Is that okay?” And if it’s a CEO, normally, you know, she’ll say, “Sure, you can ask me whatever you want.” We’re wide open on this thing.” But with the panelists I want them to feel very, very comfortable. There’s going to be no surprises, and I’m good at it. We’re all aware, or I think should be aware, of your strengths and weaknesses and there’s tons of things that are not my strong point. One thing I do pretty well is I can find opportunities to create laughter during the course of a discussion and that just, I mean, everybody, the whole room, appreciates that. I don’t mean a big—you know, it’s not a comedy act, but I can pick up on what somebody said and say something that the whole audience will laugh. They’ll laugh and that always helps. I mean it just always helps a panel.

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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!