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You might have noticed that I’ve been reporting on the Democratic Presidential Primary debates!  And as I was trolling about looking for tidbits of information, I stumbled upon several versions of “BINGO”:

What do these bingo cards have in common?  They all have topics or phrases that they expect the candidates to say or do.

The Root encourages you to “print out the bingo cards. Then, grab a pencil and paper and mark off each square whenever you hear a candidate utter that word or phrase (trust me, they’ve all said these at least once, we tested it). The first person to get four consecutive squares wins dinner with Andrew Yang!”

So how can this work during a panel discussion?

  1. Make a list of topics and/or phrases that you think the panelists will address.
  2. Make a bingo card – there’s a free online tool called “BingoBaker” that makes this super easy!
  3. Hand them out to the participants as they walk in or place them on the chair.
  4. Explain the directions during the panel opening: Encourage the participants to note when a panelist mentions the topic/phrase. When you have noted the topics/phrases have five in a row horizontally, vertically or diagonally, ask them to shout out “BINGO!”  (It’s always a bit of fun to ask the audience to shout out “BINGO”!  Then state the “prize” (or keep it a secret) for the first person who shouts “BINGO!”
  5. Moderate the panel discussion as you would normally do – but when the first person shouts out “BINGO” be ready with “the Prize”!  (Note: you will probably have the entire audience shout out “BINGO” – so be prepared to be able to give the prize out to everyone!)

Yet my favorite variation on the BINGO theme was used during the Outlander panel during Emerald City Comicon.  The moderator projected a BINGO card with questions she thought the audience might want to ask the famous panelists.  It served as a “sneak peak” into what the panel was going to talk about!

Here’s how you can use BINGO with the panelists during a panel discussion:

  1. Make a list of interesting questions that you think the audience wants to ask.
  2. Make a bingo card.
  3. Project the bingo card on to the screen.
  4. Explain the directions during the panel opening – that you will be drawing from these questions periodically.
  5. Then, during the panel discussion, pause to select a question from the bingo card (or have a panelist or audience member select the question) and pose it to the panelists.
  6. Don’t worry about keeping track – the audience will let you know when/if you hit “BINGO”!

So there you go: Two ways to use BINGO during your next panel discussion!


Related Articles:

How Moderators Can Manage Awkward Audience Comments

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

Panel Discussion Tip #185 with Jeffrey Hayzlett: Finishing Panel Discussions


For more resources on moderating panel discussions, visit the Knowledge Vault. 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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