At the 2014 National Speakers Association (NSA) Convention, Mark Sanborn moderated the Executive Exchange Panel with Steve Forbes, Chairman and Editor in Chief, Forbes Media, Kat Cole, CEO of Cinnabon, Inc. and GJ Hart, Executive Chairman, CEO and President, California Pizza Kitchen.
As Mark was introducing Steve Forbes, he posed this question: “You have high, C-level executive meetings around the world and you have lots of speakers, but no speeches. It’s a dialogue. It’s a panel [or] an exchange – much as we are doing here today. Can you tell us a little bit about your theory about how to best teach people who are obviously already well informed how to share ideas so they get better?”
Steve responded, “Speeches are fine, but in small doses. And, to be blunt about it, and if you’re trying to hold an audience for a day or two, then people like to listen to conversations. They like to do it between panels. They like to do brainstorming, networking, or whatever you want to call it. But on the stage, if you have several people there, and somebody like you [panel moderator Mark Sanborn], a good host to keep the conversation going, and then involve the audience at the end (we always have time for Q&A), then people are likely to listen because it’s not rehearsed. You’re not speaking from notes. You’re not speaking from a script. It’s a conversation. People are always interested in other people. And if you get a good conversation going, people will listen, learn and they won’t be looking at their watches, thinking, “Where’s the next break? How can I break out of here?” The panelists love it because they don’t have to do a big speech preparation. The audience loves it because they get several shots at it in the sense that a lot of people are speaking. So it wins all around! And you have the right people on the panel, people are going to learn something. They don’t like to be lectured to. The like to feel – especially in this day of social media – they like the idea of interaction and so if you get interaction, you win.”
Do you agree with Steve? Do audiences love panels?
Before your make your conclusion be sure to review my research, which shows that audiences do not necessarily love panel presentations all of the time.
Kristin Arnold, professional panel moderator and high stakes meeting facilitator, shares her best practices for interactive, interesting, and engaging panel presentations. For more resources like this, or to have Kristin moderate your next panel visit the Powerful Panels official website.