Professional panel moderator, Kristin Arnold asks Neen James, an expert on leveraging your focus and paying attention to what matters most at work and in life, how to maintain the audience’s attention during a panel discussion at a meeting, conference, or convention.
Kristin: Neen, how do you maintain the attention of the audience towards the end of your panel discussion?
Neen: You can sometimes tease it up a little bit. So, at the beginning of the panel, you might say, “Before we finish today, I’d love to give you my five secrets on how to be more productive.” And maybe you open a loop with them, but you don’t actually answer all of that. “My first two would be this,” but then you have to make a note to come back to the last three. So, then in the end, you can say, “Remember we talked about those two productivity tips, let me give you the last three in the final five minutes we have together.” So, you can close the loop with that particular audience. So, you can open a loop and share with them something you’re going to share with them, and then close it just before it’s finished.
Another easy thing to do is give them a bonus for being there in the room still. So, you might say, “It’s so neat that you guys stayed around, I’d love to give you some sample chapters of my book, ‘Attention Pays.’ If you go to this particular page, they’re yours as a gift for you.” And you wait until the end to do that. As the moderator, you might say, “Some of the panelists have provided some great resources,” and “Thank you for staying through with us to the end of this panel.” As a result of you staying here, we’ve made these available to you.” So, there are ways that you can do it.
You can also encourage people, like I will say to people, “Grab your phones, text this number, type this word.” So, you can use certain technologies. We use Leaddigits, but there’s so many out there, right, where you can give them a bonus if they do it in that moment.
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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!