Panel moderators use open-ended questions to incite conversation and closed questions to summarize or exact a short answer from a panelist. But it doesn’t always work that way. We all know the person who can take a closed question and ramble on and on OR the teenager who can take an open-ended question and turn it into a closed question:
“Hi honey! How was your day?” (open)
A skilled moderator will rephrase the question to illicit a more extensive response:
“What was the best thing about your day today?” (open)
Ahhhh, the joys of parenting! Well, the same thing can happen on a panel. Be thoughtful about the phrasing of your question. Are you trying to open up the discussion or pinpoint a position?
|Type||#||%||Debate 1a||Debate 1b||Debate 2a||Debate 2b||Debate 3||Debate 4||Debate 5||Debate 6||Debate 7|
|Total # of questions||477||60||52||57||40||52||76||45||43||52|
That seems pretty reasonable to me. However, that’s not the interesting part. Of those closed questions (35% of the questions on average), the candidates could respond in three ways:
On average, the candidates didn’t answer the closed question about a third of the time!
|Answered Right Away||11||11||7||4||8||15||8||12||17|
|Answered After Explanation||3||4||1||1||1||3||4||3||2|
|Repeated Question/Follow Up||2||3||2||1||2||3||1||3||2|
|% of Closed Questions didn’t answer||30%||17%||33%||44%||44%||31%||29%||29%||17%|
Ahhh. But here’s the really interesting part: If the candidate didn’t answer the closed question at all, the moderator would only follow up on those questions 40% of the time (on average). Some debate moderators are better at this than others!
|% of Closed Questions not answered – but followed up||33%||100%||50%||25%||29%||38%||20%||50%||50%|
For more information, check out my website at www.RulesAnalyst.com. Book me now to comment (live , Zoom, or pre-recorded interviews) on the next debate by calling me at 480.399.8489 or set up a time to talk here.