FAQ: Handling the “Expert” on the Panel
April 16, 2015
Asking Your Panelists the Tough Questions: What Makes a Question Powerful?
May 7, 2015

Obviously, everyone has an opinion. But if you have a lot to say about the topic, then you should be a panelist and not the moderator. Moderators who have deep expertise and opinions on the topic tend to jump into the discussion – maybe more frequently than they should – and then who facilitates the moderator?

For some specific formats, the moderator may be expected to participate as well. It’s not easy to combine the role of moderator and expert as they may end up dominating the discussion and hog the show!

There are times, however, when it may be appropriate for the moderator to add his/her own opinion and perspective to the conversation.

Here are some examples:

  • Opening remarks on the topic (in a balanced way) before formally posing the issue to the panelists
  • Transitions between the last question and the next one
  • When the question has not been adequately answered. If you have given the panelists (or the audience) the opportunity to answer and you get nothing or you have something significant to add, make your contribution at the end of the conversation

The moderator should make everyone else look smart while providing tremendous value to the audience. When it comes to contributing content, the moderator is the “fallback” just in case the wisdom isn’t in the room.

To learn more steps to moderate a panel discussion like a pro successfully, try this user-friendly guide.

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FAQ: Handling the “Expert” on the Panel

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For more information about how to moderate a lively & informative panel discussion, check out our free 7-part video series on how to moderate a panel and other resources to help you organize, moderate, or be a panel member.

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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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