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Was just talking to a panelist about his recent experience in sharing his insights during a panel discussion.  One of his comments made me cringe:

“In preparation, the moderator asked for a 50-word introduction and a recent headshot – and didn’t even use them!  Where she got that old photo, I just don’t know.”

Why would the panel moderator not use the information requested and then provided?  I don’t get it.

When he looked at the initial slide with all the panelists’ photos, he saw an old photo – not the one he had sent.  As she welcomed the panelists to the stage, she didn’t use his carefully crafted introduction.  And so his expectations on how this was all going to roll out decreased dramatically.

So here’s what really happened: Within the first few minutes, the moderator had subliminally signaled the irrelevance of any of the pre-work done, what was said in preparation and any plans for what should happen during that panel.

Did it affect the trust factor between the panelists and the panel moderator?  You bet!  Did it affect the dialogue between the panelists?  You bet!

Lesson learned:

DO NOT bother your panelists for information unless you are going to use it during the panel discussion!


Related Articles:

Panel Discussion Technique: Question Behind the Question

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

Panel Discussion Tip #143 with Terry Brock: Visual Do’s & Don’ts for Virtual Panels


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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