How do you research and prepare for a panel discussion at meetings, conferences and conventions? Professional Panel Moderator Kristin Arnold asked this question of Joe Calloway, Business Keynote Speaker, panel moderator, and member of the US Speaker Hall of Fame.
Kristin: Joe, your questions tend to dive pretty deeply. What do you do to research and prepare prior to a panel discussion?
Joe: Well, that’s part of what I do. I dive in pretty deep because I try to make my material really fit the context of what’s going on with them present time, right now, whatever their challenges, issues are. And I think most of us are pretty good at that – at tying our material to them and their reality, but when it comes to the panel part of it, yeah, I really want to know what’s going on, and by the way I always call them before the event. I’ll call them up and say, “Hey, Kristin, it’s Joe Calloway. I just want to introduce myself and thank you for being on the panel.” And let me tell you something else that I do. I get them really comfortable that this is going to be fun, there’s nothing for them to memorize; we’re just going to be talking. I mean, having a genuine conversation and I also tell all of them, I say, “Listen, if Bill says something Kristin that sparks an idea in you, jump in!” That just makes it more interesting for everybody so feel free to jump in., and I try to get them really comfortable with me over the phone before the event and if I can get them laughing in the conversation, and then I generally try to find them at the event and say “hi” physically before the session. And then early, early on- I mean, I’m about the most nonthreatening thing on the planet, so a real key for me is to get the panel members extremely comfortable with the process. That just makes the whole thing so much better, and I mean, I think we all do that but I really have intention about doing that.
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Kristin Arnold, professional panel moderator, and high stakes meeting facilitator is on a crusade to make all panel discussions informative, interactive, and interesting. Specifically, she wants to help YOU become a better panel moderator. Why? Because 95% of annual meetings have panel discussions – and according to the 2014 Panel Report, it’s a fifty-fifty proposition they are any good at all! Expectations decrease dramatically when your attendees walk in and see the traditional draped head-table with microphones on short stands. There are sooooo many other ways to have a stimulating conversation! So let’s increase the probability of success for your next panel discussion with these resources.
And, you can always go back to the playlist for more Powerful Panel Discussion Tips!