The typical panel consists of seven tasks that are performed in the following order:
Panelist presentations and/or initial remarks
Moderator-curated questions directed to the panelists
Questions from the audience directed to a panelist(s)
Thank you and final administrative remarks
The panel moderator may opt to do all seven tasks, omit some, combine a few, or design a unique format to achieve the overall desired results.
So you’ve been asked to moderate a panel discussion for the very first time. OR, you haven’t done one in a while and are wondering about how to moderate a panel discussion.
As a leading expert in moderating panel discussions, here is the recipe I use to prepare for and moderate a lively and informative panel discussion:
Clarify the vision with the meeting organizer
Select, invite, and confirm the panelists
Prepare an engaging format
Start with a strong opening
Facilitate a lively conversation
Sprinkle in audience Q&A
Finish with a clarion call to action
If you are asked to serve on a panel discussion as a panelist, there are some things you should DO and some things you definitely should NOT do to be successful. Here's my list collected over the last ten years of moderating panel discussions: