How to keep the conversation moving during a panel discussion at meetings, conferences and conventions. Professional panel moderator Kristin Arnold asked this question of Boston Globe journalist and panel moderator, Scott Kirsner, who also wrote the highly rated Harvard Business Review article on How to Moderate a Panel Like a Pro.
Kristin: What’s your favorite technique for getting the conversation moving?
Scott: But in terms of really getting the conversation going I think it is that setting that expectation of like, “Hey we’re here” in the pre-panel huddle. You know like “We’re here to have a conversation don’t wait for me to call on you.” And when you say don’t wait for me to call on you I think that says look I’m going to have to, if I want airtime or I want to disagree with something or add I’m going to have to jump in. And you know again it’s an experience thing of just having the panelist understand that you’re waiting, you’re not going to call on them every time that it is their turn to speak. That they are going to have to jump in and kind of get the conversation some momentum.
But then occasionally like you may notice there is someone who is really timid and you want their point of view and you have to say like, “Okay Jeff can you just chime in on that?” Or you know like does that jive with your experience?
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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!