How can a panel moderator engage the audience beyond the traditional Q&A session during a panel discussion at meetings, conferences, and conventions? Professional Panel Moderator Kristin Arnold asked this question of Dr. Chip Bell, professional speaker, and panel moderator.
Kristin: Chip, are there any other ways that you engage your audience besides the traditional Q&A session?
Chip: One of the things that we do sometimes as moderators is we wait until the end for affirmation, and I never have really understood that. You know why not get that audience to give you, give that panel affirmation as you’re going along. “I think our panel’s doing great, how do you all feel?” You know and you get them to applaud. You’re fifteen minutes into it and why not get the audience to provide feedback? They can’t otherwise unless you invite them.
You don’t want someone to stand up and say, “Here’s a question by George that I’ve been wanting to ask” and you go, “Oh gosh.” I think getting— they want to say, the audience wants to say something. I mean they’re on the edge of their seat going, “Gosh..when is he going to ask so and so” and I have a vehicle for dealing that too. But I think the more you can make the audience feel free as if they are vicariously doing the panel themselves the more it becomes a conversation. Even though it may not be able to directly ask questions because if you turn it over to them they don’t need you.
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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!