3 Times to Avoid Having an Audience Q&A During a Panel Discussion

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I’m a big fan of audience interaction during a panel discussion, so you would think I would be a big proponent of having a Q&A session all the time.

Au contraire!

There ARE times, when I do NOT recommend engaging in a Q&A session during a panel discussion:

  • Main Stage.  You have already seen the main stage speakers discuss the theme of the meeting or conference, and now you want to hear the interaction and interplay of these thought leaders.


  • Short.  Let’s say the panel discussion will run up to 30 minutes in duration and you have 3-4 panelists.  It just doesn’t make sense, from a timing perspective – unless your panel is driven by the Q&A.


  • Large.  The audience is big enough that soliciting feedback within the timeframe doesn’t make sense.  How big is too big?  I’d say 250 is getting too big, but it depends on the topic and the audience.

When you have all three conditions running at the same time, I would seriously consider NOT having Q&A during your panel discussion!

For more resources on how to make meetings, panels, and room sets better, make sure to check out this knowledge vault which is chock-full of customizable checklists, worksheets, templates, agendas, sample emails, video interviews and webinars with industry icons and professional moderators.

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Kristin Arnold, professional panel moderator and high-stakes meeting facilitator, shares her best practices for interactive, interesting, and engaging panel presentations. For more resources like this, or to have Kristin moderate your next panel visit the Powerful Panels official website.


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Kristin ArnoldKristin Arnold
KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CSP, CPF|Master has been facilitating meaningful conversations between executives and managers to make better decisions and achieve extraordinary results for 25+ years. She's a leading authority on moderating panel discussions and passionate about finding the perfect olive to complement a vodka martini.
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