Harry A. Overstreet, an American educator, first coined the term “panel discussion” in a short article “On the Panel” in October 1934, issue of The Trained Nurse and Hospital Review. In essence, Overstreet envisioned the purpose of a panel as a “glorified conversation [with] all the delight of generous give-and-take. And if it is a genuinely good conversation, it sends people away with a warm feeling not only that their own ideas have been clarified but that their understanding of other points of view has been broadened.”
A panel discussion is a specific format used in a meeting, conference, or convention. It is a live, in-person or virtual discussion about a specific topic amongst a selected group of panelists who share differing perspectives in front of a large audience.
I’m a high stakes meeting facilitator and professional panel moderator. I’ve been facilitating teams of executives and managers in making better decisions and achieving greater results for over 20 years.