Professional Panel Moderator Kristin Arnold asks Terry Brock, technology trends expert, virtual panel moderator, and member of the US Speaker Hall of Fame to share his technology recommendations for virtual panel discussions  at meetings, conferences and conventions.

Kristin: Terry, is there any other technology that you would recommend besides Google Hangout and Skype?

Terry: There are several others. There’s Zoom; there’s also ooVoo and there are many more that are coming out. Face Time is being used by Apple usually from one person to one person, and I think that there is a lot of them out there. I tend to like to go with the standard; that’s why I started working with Skype. I loved Skype when it was released say for instance with their group video calling where they could have several images on the screen. I wrote the press release for that. They said, “Here, Terry, here’s all the stuff.” And as a journalist, I could just say, “Hey, no problem; we can do that.” So I wrote it and put it out there and made sure it was available. What you want to do is you want to find what works well for you. I tend to prefer some of the technical features that are currently as we’re recording this, and, of course, we know it can change next week as we’re going right now for Google Plus Hangouts. It’s just got some features you can’t do in Skype. Notably, you can send it out over YouTube live so that literally billions of people can watch this. You don’t have to worry about “gee, we can only put a thousand on there like with go-to webinar.” You’re limited, only a thousand, and with the size of our mailing lists today, many people have a lot more than a thousand people. And so you want to put a lot more in there; you can do it now with a tool like Google Plus Hangout which ties into YouTube, and another little tool that we used recently was called Twenty-One Social. It gives you the ability to simulcast it also on Facebook. So when we did a Cloutathon, Gina Carr and I, we wrote a book on Clout, “Clout Matters” and we wanted to have a Cloutathon so we had three hours of broadcasting bringing in experts from around the world and we put it on Google Plus Hangout, YouTube, and Facebook, all streaming live. You can do that now.

I would encourage people to look into these, study what’s available, try with some of the technologies like Skype and Google Plus Hangouts because they are some of the best, and they really are nice. You will need to study; get someone to help you on that. Get someone who’s already done it to walk you through the first few times because you could do it given this much time. But with an expert, you can squeeze it down to that much time with a checklist. Say, “do this, this and this.” It’s kind of like “could you learn to become an expert on history on your own.” Well, you could; you just read a lot of books and study, but you’re better off going to a thing called a university where they have really, really smart people who know a whole lot about these particular areas; they know what you really need to study, what’s best for you. Go through their little program and when you go through and they test you and make sure you’re okay, they give you a little piece of paper that says, “Hey, you done did it” or something like that, and they call that a diploma. That’s a good thing.

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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!