How do you know if you have been successful moderating a panel discussion at a meeting, conference or convention? Professional panel moderator Kristin Arnold asked this question of Boston Globe journalist and panel moderator, Scott Kirsner, who also wrote the highly rated Harvard Business Review article on How to Moderate a Panel Like a Pro.
Kristin: How do you know that you’ve been successful?
Scott: Well, for me it’s like did people laugh a lot during the panel? Did they have a good time? Did they seem engaged were there a lot of questions? You know I don’t think it’s like did we cover all of the points that I wanted to cover because you so rarely I mean panels can’t ever be thorough so like the best that you can hope for is like, “Gee did we hit on three or four or five interesting topics that you know some sparks flew and we heard some interesting opinions and people told some cool stories about their experience.” But it really is that sense of like, “Well the audience, you know this was better than most of the other panels that I poked my head into today and the audience was more engaged and you know they had a good time and they you know they heard some, got some insights from people.”
But I think it is about the energy level like during the panel and then afterwards that people come up and sometimes they say like, “Wow that was just a really good panel.” Or they would complement you just on you know, “I thought you covered a lot of ground in there.” Or you know that was just enlightening or funny or an interesting panel.
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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!