During one of my coaching sessions with a panel moderator, my client asked, "Can you plan too much for a panel discussion? Seems like there is a lot to do here!"
Fair question. For a novice panel moderator that is true. As you get more comfortable with the role, there is still a bit of prep work, but not as extensive.
So my answer is this . . .
What can a panel moderator do when a panelist has an on-stage, unexpected crisis? Here is how to handle it with grace and professionalism.
When the stakes are high and you really need to hit a home run, you’ll want to hire a professional panel moderator to do the following . . .
Depending on how badly the organization wants someone to moderate a panel, you may or may not get paid to moderate a panel, but you can get compensated in some way, shape or fashion! Here's what you need to know.
What do you do if you don't have a clear vision for your panel? What if all you have known is the traditional style panel format, how would you even know what else is possible?
Here are nine factors to consider as you clarify your vision for your panel discussion.
I was chatting with Event Strategist Devon Montgomery Pasha about when to have a panel discussion - and when not to.
We both agree that panel discussions can be a powerful format for knowledge sharing, attitude shifting, and building connections. However, to create a truly impactful panel discussion, we need to ask some critical questions FIRST.
After you have moderated panel discussions for a while, you realize it is simply a matter of time before some “incident” will occur in the middle of your panel discussion.
Everyone knows that S#!T happens – some of which you have control over (your attitude, the structure and format, your questions), and some simply you do not control (stage or technology malfunctions, external disruptions, or acts of God!)
Meeting Planners International (MPI) has done the work to identify potential issues that could happen in a meeting in their Emergency Action Plan. I don’t think you have to go overboard in your planning, you can put a little thought into how you would respond if such an incident occurred.
Just because your panel discussion is over doesn't mean you can't continue the conversation! Events and media consultant Julius Solaris reminded me how important it is to repurpose your panel discussion content.
As I coach panelists to prepare for an upcoming panel discussion, there are a dozen common misconceptions about panel discussions that I think we need to clarify. To ensure a successful panel discussion, panelists should be aware of these misconceptions and actively work to avoid them. Effective communication, collaboration, and preparation are key to making panel discussions lively and informative.
When you start talking about the vision for the panel discussion and what it might look like, you'll see the implications for your choices for the moderator, panelists, structure, format, and logistics.
Many meeting organizers select a topic, and reach out to a couple of panelists who can talk on the subject. Ask one of them to moderate it and then move on to the next item on the meeting checklist.
Whoa! Not so fast! It IS a fabulous idea to start with a pithy one to three-word "topic" that serves as the major subject of the panel. But don't stop there! Here's how to pick a strong topic, premise, and title for your panel discussion.
It does not happen too often, but you could be the last in line to speak after the other panelists have detailed all of your prepared points. Yes, it is a bit disappointing, but do not despair. Even though your main points have been covered, you still have your own unique examples and a memorable headline to share.
Rather than reiterating what has already been said, try these sentence starters to expand the conversation and provide more insight into the topic.
Professional panel moderator Kristin Arnold interviews strategic leadership advisor Liz Weber on her standout job as a panel moderator on a jam-packed success of a panel discussion at the National Speakers Association conference.
I was recently asked about how to create an inclusive environment during a panel discussion. It's more than being welcoming and friendly.
Here are nine things you can do to proactively create an inclusive environment where everyone feels respected and valued.
Ed Bernacki, Founder of The Idea Factory, shared this unique panel format he calls The Hypothetical Panel Discussion Format. Here is his explanation of the format from his ebook Seven Rules For Designing More Innovative Conferences.
Far too many panelists DON'T critique themselves and debrief after a panel.
You do not need permission to “bring fun” to the panel. It is not like a lunchbox where you open the fun up and there it is. The key to having fun on the panel is all about your mindset. If you are having fun, others will have fun with you.
The thing about “planned spontaneity” during a panel discussion is that it comes across as completely spontaneous to the audience. Here's one talk-show example of how to do something different, unusual…or even spontaneous!
During the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS) Convention last December, the two convention chairs organized a highly unique (and funny!) panel that galvanized the audience.
The "He said, She said" format is particularly effective when you have a topic where there is no right answer. For example, in the speaking industry, there are myriad ways to run your business and just because it works for one person, doesn't mean it works for all. Here's how it works.
Congratulations! You had a good experience being a powerful panelist and want to be invited to participate in more panels. Here are some ideas on how to be invited to participate in more panel discussions:
I like to get to the panel discussion early - at least an hour or so earlier than the panel’s start time for several reasons. What can you do during that hour? Here's what you need to know.
Having a friend or two in the room can be super helpful during a panel discussion. Here are a few ways your friends can help you be successful during a panel discussion.
The order in which panelists offer their prepared remarks is a major factor in determining how they will be perceived. While each panelist will be speaking on the same topic, your pre-event meet-up should have ensured that your key points shed a different aspect or point of view in this segment of the program.
Here are the advantages and disadvantages to being the first, last or in the middle.
With dominating extrovert panelists, what is an introvert to do to stack the odds in their favor?
To answer this question, I called my colleague and author of Creating Introvert-Friendly Workplaces, Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, Ph.D, CSP. Here is what she had to say.
I highly recommend finishing the panel discussion on a high note with a very clear call to action. It is this “final thought” that creates clear takeaways for the audience and positions you and your company as a resource. Here are some things to consider.