Powerful Panel Discussion Tip #268 with Chip Bell: Favorite Panel Format

Professional Panel Moderator Kristin Arnold asks Dr. Chip Bell, professional speaker and panel moderator, to share his favorite format to use when moderating a panel discussion at meetings, conferences, and conventions.

Video Transcript

Kristin: Chip, what is your favorite panel format?

Chip: My favorite panel format would be one in which there is a small panel, let’s say 8 people, that’ll be an ideal size-

I’ve seen people try to do a panel for many, many more which usually doesn’t work but here again, the larger panel, typical panel is probably 4 or 5, but let’s say a large panel might be 7 or 8, need to be carefully managed in a way that a smaller panel wouldn’t. But the advantage of it if it’s properly managed, and we can talk about some of the techniques on how you manage that kind of crowd and there are kind of tricks that help you do that, but the main thing is you get a good, rich diversity if it’s handled correctly, of input.

And in the business of the customer world, often times the organizations with which I work have many customer segments. And so, if you’re a bank let’s say for example, and you only invited customers that have a checking and savings account, you’d be missing those customers who have a mortgage with you or those customers who are a treasurer of a small company and have a corporate loan with you. So, you wouldn’t want to miss the diversity of their view and the recognition that they often have different needs and expectations. 

So therefore if you had an array of customer segments it’s going to bode for a larger 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!

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