Last week, I moderated a panel discussion on “risk assessment” – a potentially boring topic – but it wasn’t boring at all! Why? Because I involved the audience from the get-go and focused the conversation on what they knew and what they needed to know.
How? So let me share with you the process I used (taken from my detailed agenda notes):
Kristin to kick off the panel, review objectives.
Small group/table discussions – What threats and security issues – that probably won’t happen, but could – keep you up at night?
Kristin to debrief and poll the room if that’s a common fear or a one-off!
Kristin to introduce Panelist #1. (As Kristin is introducing, walk onto the stage)
Panelist #1 shares a real or invented scenario – what happened and what kinds of things were in place as a preventive measure. (1-2 minutes)
Nudge your Neighbor – What would you do in response to this scenario? (1 minute)
Kristin to debrief three responses to the scenario (1 minute)
Panelist #1 – Shares the response to the situation (1-2 minutes)
Panelist #2 – Same process
Panelist #3 – Same process
Panelist #4 – Share industry response/plans (note: he went into the audience to make it conversational and used 5 slides. (5-6 minutes)
Some sample questions included: (20 minutes):
Poll. During the moderated Q&A, we took a quick poll: Raise your hand if you have a safety and security plan for your meetings that you can point to. (Surprising, only 10% of the room raised their hands to which I quipped, “Well, I guess we have a bit of work to do!”)
Small group/table to discuss what questions/comments they have (2 minutes)
Audience Q&A using “Catchbox,” a throwable microphone (20 minutes)
I might be a bit biased (after all, I was the panel moderator), but I received lots of unsolicited feedback about how informative the panel discussion was and that it was “surprisingly” interesting! Yippeee!
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.
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
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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.
This is a great idea for something that’s bound to happen at one time or another – not all topics are super-exciting, and in fact most could use some spicing up!
I agree – we need to add a little pizzazz to the panel!
Congratulations on finding a way to engage your audience despite the technical nature of the topic! As in any event, organizers and panel moderators should always give attendees the chance to provide their own feedback and thoughts. This is an element of good event design! Have you also thought of using event technology to spice up the event more? There are event apps with gamification features, for example. I run an event management software company called EventsCase, and it makes us happy to know that we are helping engage people in the events and meetings industry.
I agree Jose, and that’s why I also have a blog posting on using technology: https://powerfulpanels.com/panel-technology/. I wasn’t aware of your technology, and will take a look!