Panel Discussion Tip #189 with Glenn Thayer: How to Familiarize Yourself with the Topic

Professional Panel Moderator Kristin Arnold asks Glenn Thayer, Master of Ceremonies and conference moderator to share his perspective on how he likes to familiarize himself with the subject matter of the panel discussion at meetings, conferences and conventions.


Video Transcript

Kristin: Glenn, what do you do to familiarize yourself with the topic of the panel?

Glenn: Well, first and foremost, what I learned from you is that you said best is all you have to do is have all the experts in the room and know how to get the right information from the right people. And that’s really it. We’re all human beings in a room together. That’s really what it is. All of us have different aspects, different knowledge, different sets of education, different sets of experiences, so we all kind of come at things from a different perspective.

So really, where I am is I’m looking through an eye of perspective. What’s my perspective on it? And yes, will I learn about everything that’s going on? Certainly. Did I look into what a patient-centered medical home was and what the challenges for the Affordable Care Act and for the physicians were? Absolutely. I had a lot of conversations. I did interviews not just with the panel members, but with other physicians, other offices, people that I knew around town, here in Denver.

So it’s really reaching out even outside of the organization. And I really try to find out from attendees; if I could get a couple of attendees that I could talk to. What are their concerns? If you have these three people and you have them for dinner, and you have them over for dinner, what would you ask? And then I find those and start looking at those questions, and I’m like, that’s the information that I need. And I look where the parallels are with those conversations and questions that people want to know.

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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!


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