Questions from the audience can enrich a panel discussion or derail it, so decide ahead of time when and how you will manage questions. You can:
Once you have determined WHEN you’ll take questions from the audience, now you have to figure out HOW you are going to entertain questions from the audience:
Live. Take questions from the floor. There are three ways to get audience questions:
Screened. You (or the ombudsman) can filter and prioritize the questions, albeit on short notice! There are four ways to screen their questions:
Crowdsourced. This option requires a bit of technology to enable to audience to create and “like” the questions so you simply pull the favorites from the top of the list! My favorite tool is sli.do (which is free for up to 1,000 participants as long as you don’t care about branding or security) or PigeonHoleLive (which has more functionality yet is much more expensive). Both of these are web-based tools so anyone in the audience on a smartphone or tablet can add a question and the best questions rise to the top.
You’ll need to have your smartphone or tablet close by or project the results in order to see the crowdsourced questions. Or, with sli.do, you can be really cool and check out the questions using Google Glass!
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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.