Ugh. Sometimes, someone from the audience asks a lame question in a panel discussion. As the panel moderator OR a panelist, I believe you have two options:
As the moderator, you are the audience’s chief advocate. If someone’s boring you, then chances are they are boring the audience as well. If you think they are going on too long and not making their point, you need to intervene.
When doing your research in preparation for your panel discussion, find “the dead space” in the topic.
I’ve talked about the importance of picking “DEEP” panelists – Diverse, Experienced, Eloquent, and Prepared. But what happens if those panelists don’t get along?
Last week, I moderated a panel discussion on “risk assessment” – a potentially boring topic – but it wasn’t boring at all! Why? Because I involved the audience from the get-go and focused the conversation on what they knew and what they needed to know.
There are times when the topic is so divisive that the panel moderator must become a referee!
Don’t you just hate it when the panel moderator takes forever to launch the panel discussion? Drones on and on, talks about him or herself?
I’ve been talking to a gaggle (which is not quite a google) of meeting planners over the last several years about what makes a panel discussion successful.
Never, ever assume that your panelists have served on a panel discussion. Confirm these details to make sure they are clear about the expectations and comfortable with their role:
I just moderated a panel discussion of meeting professionals at the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS) Convention in Edmonton, AB. Not only was it an excellent conversation, but several people had asked me about the process I used.