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Moderating a panel discussion is much like baking. It requires a great recipe and a bit of preparation for a successful outcome. Some elements will need to be modified to suit certain tastes and preferences, but if you follow this plan, it should be a piece of cake!

  1. Decide on the Recipe. Have a discussion with the meeting organizer to determine the panel objectives, expectations, and outcomes for the participants. From this discussion, you’ll decide on the appropriate format that will convey the objectives and engage the audience in a lively and informative discussion.
  2. Prepare the Ingredients. Connect with the panelists to clarify expectations and make sure they are comfortable with their role. Identify the key issues to be discussed and help them be brilliant!
  3. Preheat the Oven. Have all the panelists meet up before the panel to get everyone on the same page. You don’t want to conduct the panel beforehand, so keep this light and social.
  4. Bake the Cake. Moderate the panel by using your curated questions. Watch and listen for cues to probe further, shift the conversation, or change the tempo.
  5. Enjoy! You know you have been successful when people mill about afterward, ask more questions of the panelists, and keep talking about the topic.

As with any recipe, you’ll have to put your own spin on it. Try to closely follow the recipe you made, and you’ll be the taste of the town!


Related Articles:

Innovative Panel Discussion Format: “The P-Cubed Format”

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

Pop the Cork Technique for Audience Q&A

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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