The Seamless Way to Incorporate a “Remote Panelist” Into Your Panel Discussion

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April 22, 2020
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May 6, 2020

Now that several states are starting to “open up,” don’t be surprised if a few small face-to-face meetings are held while using social distancing guidelines.  Some people might be willing to attend physically, and others will not.  It’s a mixed bag of onsite and online often called a “hybrid” meeting.

But what about a panel where a panelist can’t physically attend?  No problem!  Just stream the “remote panelist” onto a screen alongside the other panelists on stage.  Seems pretty simple to do:  Just get a monitor and Skype them in!

Oh, no.  It’s much, much more than that.

Here are some tips to ensure your remote panelist is able to seamlessly contribute just as if they were with you live on stage:

  • Two-way video feed. Not only will the audience want to see the panelists, but the remote panelist will also want to see the audience (as well as their fellow panelists).  Set up a live audiovisual feed with TWO cameras in the room: one capturing a close up view of the panel and the other capturing a wide-angle view of the onsite audience.
  • Make sure your remote panelist has good quality audio, webcam, and direct internet connection. (Best to do a dry run with the remote and onsite panelists a day or two before the panel).
  • Ask everyone to meet up onsite and online 30 mins prior to the session start to make sure the audio/visual/streaming works.
  • Have the remote panelist audio run through the “house” system. If there isn’t amplification, you may need to bring some external speakers.
  • Place the monitor as if sitting on a chair next to their fellow panelists. Try not to put the monitor at the end (but sometimes you have no choice) and have the remote panelist at a similar height to the other panelists in the room.
  • The panel moderator needs to have a clear view of the remote panelist. If possible, put the video feed of the remote panelist (or the close up of the panel) on the confidence monitor.
  • Depending on the number of people in the audience, they may find it difficult to see the remote panelist on a small stage screen. Consider staging more presentation screens in the room so that everyone can see the remote panelist(s) comfortably.
  • If using props, flags, posters, cards, etc., make sure you send them to the remote panelist ahead of time so they can equally participate with their fellow panelists.
  • Massive time delays (over two seconds) will happen at the worst time during your panel discussion. You have to do something to correct it, so it’s helpful for all (including the remote panelist) to know the back-up plan.  Here’s mine:
    • Technologist to mute/unmute the remote panelist to see if that corrects the problem.
    • Technologist to stop video/pause for five seconds/restart video to see if that corrects the problem.
    • Technologist sends a private chat message or text message telling the remote panelist to log off and to log back on. See if that corrects the problem.

These days, you need to get a bit creative getting everyone in the same room for a 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.

 

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