Panel Discussion Tip #289 with Neen James: How to Grab the Audiences’ Attention

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, on how to grab the audiences’ attention during a panel discussion at meetings, conferences, and conventions.

Video Transcript

Kristin: Neen, as a panelist, how do you grab the attention of the audience with your introduction during a panel discussion?

Neen: The audience is sitting there wondering why this person? Like, why should I listen to this person? And they want to know, even if they did read your intro, even if the moderator gave you a great bio, they’re still wondering, “I’m not sure, all right?” And so, you have moments to grab their attention. So, for me, I sound like I’m five, I’m very conscious of that. And so, I will make jokes about my height, my voice, and my accent. I do it very quickly in the first minute because I know the audience is thinking, “Does she know she sounds like a character from a cartoon?” I do.

And so what I’ll do is I’ll make fun of it, right? And then the audience goes, “Oh, she gets it.” So, that’s one barrier out of the way.

So, if you have broken your arm or you have an unusual accent or you speak really quickly or you have a unique voice, there’s something about you that the audience is wondering. Answer the question for them immediately, and then move on.  

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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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