How can a moderator engage the audience 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, besides Q&A sessions, are there other ways that you engage the audience?
Glenn: You know once again, polls. Polls are huge. Going back to pre-production before that session even happens, usually before the conference. Find out what the people want. Give an opportunity for attendees to be able to put their questions in advance. “I want to talk about this subject. I want to talk about this subject.” Let them get in and be able to have a voice beforehand.
Typically, it’s through whatever channels that the meeting owners have set up. A lot of times, it’s social media. They can send their questions via email. There can be a form that’s on the conference website. Fill out this form. Here’s what it is, specific to this. There are a lot of different ways they can elicit the feedback. If they don’t have any of those set up, like I said, I’ll get on the phone, I’ll call of couple of folks and say, “What are your biggest concerns? What do you want to hear about? If we are to talk about some subjects, where do you want us to go with it?” And then once I get them after I talk to some folks, then I could really get some consensus on where we need to head the conversation.
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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!