We’ve talked before about engaging the audience early during a panel discussion. One of my favorite ways is to turn to the audience and ask them talk at their tables or with their seat-mates about what questions they have for panelists. (You can even challenge them to ask the toughest, hottest, most challenging questions they can think of!) They can write their questions down on an index card or use www.sli.do to allow the audience to “like” their favorite questions.
Here’s yet another step you can use to ramp up the energy in the room:
After the participants have written down their questions on index cards, ask each of them to pick up one of the cards. If they didn’t write enough questions for everyone, then they can pick up a blank index card.
As them to stand up with their card, and then find someone from a different table. Share your question with the new partner – and see if they have an answer! Then, ask your partner about their question, and see if they have an answer! For those of you with blank index cards, perhaps the conversation stimulates a new question….and then you can write that down on the blank card!
So here’s the fun part: SWAP cards! Give your card to your partner! You can then do another round OR ask the audience to take their seats.
Once the audience takes their seats, ask for the most intriguing questions
from the audience. Here’s the key to making this work: The person who stands up (or that you throw your Catchbox
– a throwable microphone
) – is asking on behalf of the audience. It’s not their question; rather, it is a question given to them from a small group.
The “Card Swap” is a fun and interactive way of getting people out of their seats, connecting with each other and soliciting interesting questions for your panel discussion!