How to coach panelists prior to going on stage at a panel discussion 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, what methods do you use to get the highest quality questions from the audience?
Brian: A great technique that costs you nothing here, is you get- before Q and A session- you set it up and you have the audience members at their table if they’re at rounds, which they often times are, or you’re going to get them into sitting in groups of two or three, and you have them brainstorm the most amazing questions that they can come up with as a group and submit on 3×5 cards ahead of time. Now what I’ve done is I control that by saying, “Okay, we’re going to play this pop song, this rock song. It is three minutes and 25 seconds in length. That’s how much time you have for your table to come up with the top two best questions you can possibly come up with. Ready? Go.” And what happens is when there’s a limited amount of time, everybody leans forward and they start talking because it’s a kind of competitive thing. And you tell them. It’s like, “We’re going to ask the best questions we can find. We don’t have time to ask all these questions. We’ll sort through these and we’ll find the best ones.” Every table wants their question to be the one that’s asked.
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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!