Professional Panel Moderator Kristin Arnold asks Boston Globe Columnist and Professional Panel Moderator, Scott Kirsner if there is anything he won’t tolerate during a panel discussion at meetings, conferences, and conventions.
Kristin: What is the one thing that you will not tolerate when moderating a panel?
Scott: I mean the biggest thing is just no time for questions and not acknowledging the audience that they are there. Because like you know whether the audience is small and you’re moderating a panel that like for whatever reason only five people came to see. You should be grateful that those five people are there. Like I have moderated unfortunately panels in like giant ballrooms where you’ve had like ten people in a ballroom that you should have five hundred people in. And like I think you still have to acknowledge the audience is there and sort to try to figure out how to do something that’s going to be interesting or educational for them.
And then I have moderated panels in front of like a thousand people in a really full convention center and you know the same thing you just have to let them ask questions and find ways for them to get involved because it’s not—you know we’ve talked about TV a little bit. But it’s not TV. There are live people in the room, there are people who want to interact and send you questions via Twitter or raise their hands or whatever.
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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!