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I’m always on the lookout for interesting ways to start a panel discussion.

Sometimes, the panel moderator will poll the audience to get a baseline for who is in the room and what to talk about.

But what about starting with a poll of the panelists?

At the Evolution of Private Debt Funds panel at MBA’s CREF conference this week, moderator Jack Cohen, the CEO of Darkknight Ventures, injected some levity into the discussion in the form of some light-hearted pop quizzes.

Panelists were asked to describe the current alternative lending environment in three words or less. “Very competitive,” said Jimmy Yung, a managing director at Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies; “Seeing some cracks,” Greta Guggenheim, the CEO of TPG Real Estate Finance Trust, opined; “Too much capital,” said Tom MacManus, the president of A10 Capital.

Next, panelists were asked to define a debt fund’s role in terms that even a 12-year-old would understand. Yung was given a gold star by Cohen for offering the simple definition: “We give people money to buy properties and ask them to pay us back.”

What a creative way to start your panel discussions!

Related Articles:

Innovative Panel Discussion Format: “The P-Cubed Format”

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

Pop the Cork Technique for Audience Q&A

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.

Kristin ArnoldKristin Arnold
KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CSP, CPF | Master, high-stakes meeting facilitator and professional panel moderator is on a quest to make all panel discussions lively and informative. Check out her free 7-part video series on how to moderate a panel and other resources to help you organize, moderate, or be a panel member.

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