Professional Panel Moderator Kristin Arnold asks Glenn Thayer, Master of Ceremonies and conference moderator to share his perspective on how he likes to use technology to stimulate audience participation during a panel discussion at meetings, conferences, and conventions.

Video Transcript

Kristin: Glenn, how do you use technology to stimulate audience participation?

Glenn: There’s a couple of different ways to do it. I mean, I’ve used Join Speaker. Then I’ve used Poll Everywhere. Really the way to set it up is let them have fun with the technology first. I mean it’s usually a relief to tell everybody to pull out their smartphones, turn it on and hold it up over their head and now you’ve got a sea of lights going out which is always an amusing little shot that people can get but then I have them go to the website. I have them go here’s how it is. I run them through a tutorial but I make it fun. You know, we might have a question, my favorite question is, “If you can have a superpower, what would it be?” And we do it as a poll. So we set it up so we can get some information and the panel members can get some information so it’s like what’s your favorite superpower? I borrowed that from Jeff Hurt because he always uses that one. I said, “What’s your favorite superpower?” and on the poll it’s x-ray vision, fly, be invisible and then the last one is, “I don’t need superpowers, I’m a ninja.” That’s what I always add into it. The IT guys almost always go to the ninja I find. But we do that, we find out who’s the ninja, who else and then I might throw out something else, “Who else have something else out here that wants to have a different superpower?” And people raise their hands and just shout things out. So we kind of have fun with it. And then we go back in and say, “Let’s start entering in some of the questions. Here’s where the questions go in?” And I might have a tutorial that is up to the screen behind me or to the sides. And we just kind of walk through it so they get the chance to be able to see it, test your questions out, here’s where it is. The software will tell you and since they’re mobile websites, it makes it easy to be accessible from any of the smartphones or their iPads or laptops if they have those in the room.

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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.

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