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During a recent conversation with a client, I was testing out my panel discussion moderator selection hypothesis: That they prefer a “celebrity” or “well-known name” (to the audience) FIRST.  Then, they will look to an expert on the topic and lastly, that the person has demonstrated panel moderation skills.

To my chagrin, my client pretty much agreed with my hypothesis, but then added, “Just because they are a celebrity, don’t assume they will be a good moderator – especially if they come from TV or radio!”

For some bizarre reason, people equate TV celebrities, news station announcers, or infomercial hosts as ideal candidates to facilitate your panel.  Buyer beware!  Just because they are used to being on camera, doesn’t mean they are used to speaking in front of a live audience OR without a teleprompter.  Or that they are good at interviewing multiple people at the same time.

Don’t get me wrong…many ARE (or can be) good panel moderators.  Just don’t make a HUGE leap of faith and assume that they will be simply because of the nature of their work.  Make sure you have done your due diligence before you ask a celebrity to moderate your panel.  Make sure they have the skills to facilitate a fabulous conversation!


For quick tips and techniques from industry professionals to help you moderate a lively and informative panel discussion at your next meeting, conference or convention, visit the Powerful Panels YouTube playlist, “Powerful Panel Discussion Tips.”

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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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