Powerful Panel Discussion Tip #179 with Joe Calloway: How to Involve the Audience

Professional Panel Moderator Kristin Arnold asks Joe Calloway, Business Keynote Speaker, panel moderator, and member of the US Speaker Hall of Fame to share his ideas on how he likes to involve the audience during a panel discussion at meetings, conferences, and conventions.

Video Transcript

Kristin: Joe, what do you do to involve the audience in your panel discussions?

Joe: Well, you know, it’s funny. I’m working on a presentation right now this afternoon and I look at the point I want to make and then I say, “What’s a question that I can ask the audience?” and say—well, here’s what I came up with before our call. The point I want to make is that most successful brands, and I’ve got quotes and research to back this up, but most brand leaders win on the basics of they deliver the basic value better than their competition. And so, I want to set that up.

I thought, “What’s a question I could ask?” So, what I’m going to ask the group and everybody from this group will be from the same place, the same location. So, I’m going to say, “I want everybody here to think of a place here in this town where you do business and you are a loyal customer and you’ve been doing business with them for a long, long time. And then turn to the person next to you and very, very quickly, what is it about them that’s got you locked in as a loyal customer? Just very, very quickly. I’m going to give you literally less than a minute to do that.” And then I’ll say, “What did you come with? Where’s a place that you’re loyal and why?” Here, there, in the drycleaner.

“How many of you would say that every company that you—business that you just named does a great job at delivering your basic expectations?” Well, it’s a pretty safe bet that every hand in the room is going to go up. And then I’m going to say, “Let me read you something that I think you might find interesting. MIT did a study, da, da, da…” that would make the point that they just made. So here’s the anecdotal you told me. Now here’s some research that agrees with what you just said. So, I could have just read the research, but I thought, “How can I create a mini conversation about what I’m about to say?” So, I’m constantly thinking in terms of what’s a question I can ask the audience that will set up the point that I’m about to make.

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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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