It happens. You’ve been asked to moderate a panel discussion and you don’t have access to the panelists beforehand. You’re not even sure who the panelists will be…or even what the focus of the panel should be!
My gosh! Time is flying so fast! You’ve been facilitating a brilliant panel discussion, and you have just a few minutes to conclude the session.
Regardless of how prestigious your panelists are as well as the intense preparation you put into your panel discussion, you must intervene when a panelist:
We’ve gotten so many compliments on the SMM panel discussion at MPI’s World Education Forum, that I thought it would be useful to break the process down for any aspiring panel moderator. So….here goes!
I am often asked where the moderator should be stationed. While there is no “right” place to be located, make your decision based on the the pro’s and con’s of each:
The best panels spark a little controversy, show a difference of opinion among the panelists, and for some formats, actually generate some downright heated discussions!
Congratulations! You have moderated an amazingly successful panel discussion. You met the panel objectives, delivered on the promise, made the panelists look like heroes and the audience received tremendous value. But it’s not over…yet.
Harry A. Overstreet, an American Educator who was the first to write about the panel process said, “No one, under any circumstances, is to rise and make a speech. To do so will be the one unforgivable offense!” So don’t let them give a speech at a panel discussion!
How much research should a moderator do in preparation for a panel discussion? For some, not a lot is required because they are a seasoned moderator facilitating seasoned panelists discussing known issues and points of contention in front of a known audience.
A key skill of any panel moderator is to inspire conversation between the panelists. After the initial remarks (either through an initial presentation or first “hot potato question“), listen for areas of agreement or disagreement to inspire conversation.