When you have a large audience – let’s say anything over a hundred people – it can be a challenge to get everyone involved during a panel discussion. Obviously, every person in the room can’t ask a question – the numbers just don’t work. And don’t forget about that ONE person who hijacks the session with some obtuse, crazy question!
For larger audiences, I like to use technology tools to enable the crowd to weigh in, typically to:
So what kind of “panel technology tools” are out there? After canvassing the web, my fellow professional panel moderators and my meeting planner friends, I believe there are essentially three types:
Many conferences and conventions use a meeting app such as Lanyon, DoubleDutch, or Quickmobile, so check with your meeting planner to see if they are using an event app AND if it has polling and Q&A functionality. If they do, I suggest you leverage that platform.
If not, then you’ll want to start looking at all the options. And if you are like me, you can get confused pretty quickly! (And the pricing makes absolutely no sense to me…check out my spreadsheet analysis here).
So let’s keep this simple:
Out of the 16 different vendors, all of them allow you to vote and submit a question/comment that will display the results on a projection screen and that you can download the results for future use. Some are easier to use than others, but after that, it gets a bit murky.
Then you have to ask yourself a few questions. Do you want to be able to:
Depending on your answer, you’ll choose a different solution.
I’m a big fan of Slido as they provide almost all of the functionality above at a reasonable price – especially if you are starting out. They have the best rate of ZERO dollars: one event with up to 1,000 attendees to do three polls and interactive Q&A. At the end of your session, Slido even cranks out an infographic!
But that meets my needs. Yours may be different based on the audience size, on-site support, branding, degree of security and functionality desired for an amazing and engaging panel discussion.
What technology do you use for panel discussions and why?
For more resources on how to make meetings, panels, and room sets better, make sure to check out this knowledge vault which is chock-full of customizable checklists, worksheets, templates, agendas, sample emails, video interviews and webinars with industry icons and professional moderators.
Kristin Arnold, professional panel moderator and high-stakes meeting facilitator, shares her best practices for interactive, interesting, and engaging panel presentations. For more resources like this, or to have Kristin moderate your next panel visit the Powerful Panels official website.