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 perspective on using PowerPoint during virtual panel discussions at meetings, conferences and conventions.
Kristin: Terry, how do you feel about using PowerPoint in virtual panel discussions?
Terry: I think you should do it where it enhances the presentation, the same thing as in physical presentation. I use Keynote on my Mac, using Keynote like PowerPoint, and I’ll go through the slides. We just share the screen and let people see that one at a time, and I think it’s good but particularly in a virtual presentation, you want to show only a few slides. I would do it for only a maximum of maybe five to ten minutes maximum, preferably five and then cut from that; you come back to your face so they see you and you make some points because when you’re doing a PowerPoint presentation often, a real good one, you have the slides there and then you might hit the letter B which turns it blank or black. So then it’s not there, and that way the audience is like automatically their attention is focused on you. The way to do that virtually is then you turn off your screen share and you have them look at you. You make your points and you say, “Now let’s continue on with our slides where I’m going to talk about—“and you go back into it and they see the slides. I think the slides done properly can really enhance what you’re doing with the words because people will see the words; they’ll hear the words, and that’s good and particularly with pictures. So you could show pictures that obviously you couldn’t do with just your face on the screen. You could bring in lots of ideas, lots of new details in the technology world where I live and do a lot. We can say, “Now look at this new one. Matter of fact, look, we’ve got something here and look, this one is a new thing; when you press this end on it, look, this comes out on the other side; it’s an amazing little technology; look at that.” And you see what I just did there in fun is I can use by moving up and really coming alive, I’m more than just a talking head sitting back here talking like this which is really guilty of the worst sin that a speaker can have. Boring! And so use that. Use it like TV, but it’s a little different than TV but there are still some similarities. Again, we’re learning as we go on this because we’re really in the new stages. It’s kind of like where TV was in the early 1950’s. Early 1950’s was just getting started; most of the people that were doing it, many of them, would think TV is like radio, so they would sit there and they would just literally read the radio script. It was really boring. Then they realized no, this is not like that; it’s more like theater. You’ve got to get up and move around; you have got to do that. And so we’re adapting and learning as we go. Use the visual medium and make sure that it really serves you well, whether you’re using a PowerPoint slide or going back and forth.
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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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