Panel Moderator Research Tip: Find “Dead Space” in Your Topic

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When doing your research in preparation for your panel discussion, find “the dead space” in the topic.

As you read up on the topic, do a little background check on the panelists, you’ll start developing the list of potentially provocative questions.  “Dead space” questions are those questions you could ask that get a “yes” or “no” answer.  Dead space questions are deadly to a panel and you want to stay away from them because closed questions are boring.

How do you know you’ve got dead space?  You test your questions out on potential participants, a close colleague, or peer group.  Listen carefully to their responses.  It might be a great question, but will it elicit the conversation that you are looking for?  Is it pertinent for that specific audience?  Does it deliver on the promotional promise of the panel?

If your answer is no, then it’s dead space….and don’t ask the question during your panel discussion!

For more resources on how to make meetings, panels, and room sets better, make sure to check out this knowledge vault which is chock-full of customizable checklists, worksheets, templates, agendas, sample emails, video interviews and webinars with industry icons and professional moderators.

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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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