Where should a moderator stand during a panel discussion at meetings, conferences and conventions? Professional Panel Moderator Kristin Arnold asks Glenn Thayer, Master of Ceremonies and conference moderator to share his perspective.
Kristin: Glenn, do you like to moderate from the stage or out in the audience?
Glenn: Well, if I’m using my iPad, I stay on stage so I can moderate what’s going on. If it’s straight Q&A for different questions cause it’s a dialogue. I look at the panels and the way I look at the panels, it is a dialogue between everybody. If you look at it from the standpoint of at a cocktail party and there’s three people having a conversation at a cocktail party but then there’s another ten people around them listening to the conversation. It’s just like that. It’s a dialogue, it’s an active dialogue that has three main participants that are having the majority of the conversation and everybody else is listening to the content and then occasionally, somebody else might have something to say. “Oh, what about this? Tell me more about that.” And then we go in and dive deeper so if you want to think of it is, it’s almost like a cocktail reception conversation. So I want to be on stage to be able to manage that. Now if I need to go down into the audience, I can do that as well. But I find if you leave the stage, there’s not as much control over what’s going on and more things can happen especially trying to stop people from having a debate that might get a little active or heated. If I’m on stage it’s very easy to kind of, “Hold on. Let’s talk about this,” and I can kind of break it up as opposed to being out in the audience where I’m a hundred feet from the stage and people are going at it.
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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!