Panel Moderators: Open Your Panel Discussion with these 5 Elements

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Don’t you just hate it when the panel moderator takes forever to launch the panel discussion?  Drones on and on, talks about him or herself?

Me too!

Listen, we know you are smart.  You don’t have to prove it to us.  Take just a couple of minutes to tee up the discussion and then let’s get to business!

Your opening remarks can include these five different elements:

  • Start Smartly.  Share an attention-grabbing statement, fact, statistic, quotation, anecdote, or poll.
  • Set the Table.  Quickly give an overview of why the topic is timely and important to the audience as well as what you hope to accomplish in our time together.
  • Share the Process.  Provide a high-level overview of the process as well as any ground rules.
  • Clarify Your Role.  You are NOT a panelist!  You are there to be the champion of the audience and stimulate a lively conversation.
  • Panelist Introductions.  You introduce the panelists OR the panelists introduce themselves.  You decide.

You should be able to do this in just a few minutes…and then let the games begin!

And if you want to blather on and on about the topic or how important each panelist is to you, then you are just showing us all how truly “not smart” you are!


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.

Related Articles:

10 Ways Panel Moderators Can Manage Time Effectively During a Panel Discussion

How to Create GREAT Questions for Your Panelists to Answer during Your Panel Discussion

3 Popular Panel Discussion Formats

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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