30 Ways to Engage Your Audience During a Virtual Panel Discussion

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Virtual panel discussions are all the rage during this COVID-crisis.  Yet many of them are one-way communications between the panelists with little interaction from the audience.  As panel moderators, we often rely on one or two techniques to engage the audience, however, there are myriad ways to encourage their involvement.  Here is a list of ways that you can engage your audience during a virtual panel discussion:

Send the signal that this is going to be an engaging panel:

1) As the audience arrives into the room, start talking!  Ask them to comment in the chat box to share their name and location.  Ask a simple question that is tied to the panel topic.  Share what is written in the chat box so others contribute as well!

2) Within the first five minutes, engage the audience so they stay interested and connected.

At any time during the discussion, you can:

3) Take a formal poll (using the polling feature in the system) to baseline key information

4) Take an informal poll using a literal raising of hands (if you can see everyone)

5) Take an informal poll by using the “raise hand” feature in the system

6) Take a poll using external software/app and display the information in a word cloud

7) Ask a provocative question and ask the audience to answer in the chat box

8) Ask a polarizing question and ask the audience to answer in the chat box

9) Ask the audience to react to a panelist’s comment in the chat box

10) Ask the audience to comment on what they see in the chat box

11) Ask the audience to share the themes they have heard during the discussion

12) Ask the audience to “Check-In” to gauge how everyone is feeling/doing on the topic

13) Share a funny and engaging picture

14) Share two funny and engaging pictures that compare and contrast

15) Share a funny and engaging video

16) Share a funny and engaging cartoon

17) Call on a person in the audience to answer a question

18) Call on a person in the audience to comment on what has been said

19) Call on a person in the audience to ask a question

20) Play a game such as Bingo, Would You Rather, etc.

21) Pose a statement and ask the audience if it is true or false (fact or fiction)

22) Pose a statement and ask the audience if they agree/disagree

23) Use breakout rooms for smaller groups to discuss an issue

24) Prioritize a list using a poll

25) Prioritize a list using annotations

26) Crowdsource a list using external software/app

At the end of the panel discussion:

27) Ask the audience to share their key takeaways in the chat box

28) Ask the audience to share their key takeaways using external software/app

29) Take a poll

30) Or any of the techniques listed above!

 

This is just a partial list….what else do you do to engage your audience during a virtual panel discussion?

 

Related Articles:

How to Moderate a Virtual Panel Discussion

How to Create GREAT Questions for Your Panelists to Answer during Your Panel Discussion

Panel Discussion Tip #185 with Jeffrey Hayzlett: Finishing Panel Discussions

 

For more resources on moderating panel discussions, visit the Knowledge Vault. To have Kristin moderate your next panel, visit the Powerful Panels official website.

 

 

Kristin Arnold
Kristin Arnold
Award-winning author Kristin Arnold is an expert panel moderator and professional meeting facilitator.
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