Back in 2014, I decided to hyper-niche my facilitation skillset into the panel moderation world. Moderating a panel is, quite simply, a very specific type of facilitation.
When considering various formats for an upcoming meeting, consider the advantages and disadvantages of a panel discussion – a live (or recorded), in-person, virtual, or “hybrid” discussion about a specific topic amongst a selected group of experts who share differing perspectives in front of an in-person, virtual, or geographically dispersed audience.
It’s a lovely touch to write and send a thank you letter after a panel discussion. After all, they have taken the time to prepare some comments and share their expertise with your audience. If you’re the panel organizer, the least you can do is send a thank you letter to the panel moderator and panelists. If you’re the panel moderator, consider sending a thank you note to the panelists as well!
Panelist Definition: A panelist is one among a group of people, typically 3-4 experts or practitioners in the field, who share facts, offer opinions, and respond to audience questions either through questions curated by the moderator or taken from the audience directly either in person, virtually, or remotely. Here is some criteria they should meet.
You've identified your desired slate of D.E.E.P. panelists and now you need to send them a panel discussion invitation by email (or if you're old school, by postal mail!). To have a comprehensive yet crisp letter, consider including these elements:
I’ll tell you what tips off the audience that the panel moderator is NOT fulfilling their role of being “Neutral & Objective.”
So you’ve been asked to be a panelist on a panel discussion and you and your colleagues are wondering, “Why you should be a panelist? Why stick your neck out there?” Here's why.
Although you have been selected to speak candidly about your perspective as a panelist, you may be wondering how to disagree respectfully during a panel discussion. It's bound to come up...you've done your research on your fellow panelists and you know you have differing opinions. Here are a number of strategies on how to disagree respectfully.
Panel moderator Kristin Arnold shares creative ways panelists can promote a book or other product or service tastefully at a panel discussion.
Should you bring the whole script? Read from the teleprompter? Bring some notes? Here is how panel moderators can strategically keep their script onstage.
Surprise and impress your meeting organizer by offering to pepper in notices, announcements, and promotions into your panel discussion.
Professional panel moderator Kristin Arnold responds to a comment she received about the audience and the role of a panel discussion.
Professional panel moderator Kristin Arnold shares a simple strategy to help panelists feel valued, engaged, and trusted.
While I have some preferences on how to moderate a panel discussion, there is no ONE way. It all depends on the topic, the venue, the panelists, and of course, the moderator’s own personal style.
My best advice is to make ALL of these small choices on behalf of the audience and the promise stated in the program materials. Listen for more.
I like to think of a panel discussion in chunks of time or "segments" and allocate the time appropriately.
Let's use an example from this sample script for a panel discussion where the panel is only 45 minutes long.
When sharing a number(s) with the audience, it is much more than the telling of the number or statistic. The number(s) is important, but it’s the understanding of the situation, the emotion it generates, and the feeling the audience is left with that really matters.
Now that we have talked about what to wear on a panel discussion, let's chat about what to wear on a ZOOM panel discussion (or another videoconferencing platform!)
While the factors to consider when selecting the perfect outfit are the same for in-person as well as participating remotely, there are a few distinct differences that I wanted to highlight. After all, your profile is being projected as a "Hollywood Square" vs. a full view of the entire stage! (Actually, these tips also work for anyone who is a remote panelist as well!)
Ever wonder what to wear on a panel discussion? I do - all the time! The answer is not as simple as it may seem. Although I would love to give you a textbook answer, there are several factors you need to consider first.
Professional panel moderator Kristin Arnold interviews keynote speaker Sylvie di Giusto, CSP, on how panel moderators and panelists can make excellent first impressions that last.
Wondering how the heck you can subtly promote yourself during a panel discussion? You don’t want to be too pushy or too salesy BUT there is a reason you said “yes” to the request. Perhaps you are looking for more visibility, awareness of a new product/service, or organization (whatever “it” is!).
Regardless of the reason you want to shamelessly promote yourself or your company, DON’T do it! There are ways to get the point across without you having to shamelessly promote “it.”
As an expert panelist or during any other interview, you can proactively prepare for cage-rattling questions, recognize the gotcha question, and reframe your response so that you can come out looking like a champ!
Don't default to the traditionalists. You can easily spice up the room by getting rid of that darn long table during your panel discussion. It acts as a barrier between the panelists and the audience. Instead, create a warmer climate with these strategies.
Panel discussion topics are more than just one or two words.
To provide a focus for the panel moderator, panelists, and the audience, craft a topic statement (not to be confused with a panel title) that includes these three elements.
During this week's Powerful Panel Podcast, Strategic Consultant of Partner Development and Training for law firms David Cruickshank shared his "demonstration panel format" which is a brilliant panel discussion format to share and discuss best practices.
Here is how panel moderators can break up panel discussions into bite-size chunks in order to provide basic structure and help the audience follow along.