Is it better to ask safe and easy questions or ask more difficult questions during panel discussions at meetings, conferences, and conventions? Professional Panel Moderator Kristin Arnold asked this question of Brian Walter, Founder of Extreme Meetings and member of the US Speaker Hall of Fame. He’s a freakin’ brilliant meetings maestro who amps up the energy, engages audiences as a way of life.
Kristin: Brian, is it better to ask the panel members difficult questions or to play it safe and ask easier questions?
Brian: Yeah, I would say that as a facilitator, we have two things that are core as far as the intent, and one as you said is that we have to be an advocate for our panelists to make sure that they have a powerful experience otherwise thank you for setting me up. I hate you. We don’t want that. On the other hand, we need to be just as zealous for our audience, because we have wasted their time and money if there was a very safe, bland panel and that is almost a default because again, few times do you say, “That was an amazing panel.” Most of the times it’s like, “it was okay,” and we’re all going I think, for more than it was okay.
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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!