How to Moderate an Edu-taining After-Dinner Panel Discussion
March 20, 2024
Run of Show For a Panel Discussion
Sample Script and “Run of Show” For a Panel Discussion
April 3, 2024

“Pick a card, any card!” the carnival barker would call out, enticing passers-by to stop and watch the card trick. Why not use this simple technique for panel discussions to entice your audience to lean into the Q&A segment?

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Perhaps you had a very long list of questions during your curating process. You know you won’t get to all of them, so you push some off to the audience Q&A portion. Or you got so many interesting potential questions from the panelists, that you can’t fit them all in. Then again, you may have also received some great questions or responses from the outbound promotional activities. You can take all of those questions and put each of them on an index card.

Once you have your deck of potential question cards, you can approach a panelist and dare them to “pick a card, any card” and they have to answer it! (I always like to give them ONE opportunity to pass it along to another panelist, just in case they need to!) It’s a fun way to inspire intrigue AND get those additional questions answered!

You can also go into the audience and ask an audience member to “pick a card, any card” and have them read the question and direct it to a specific panelist. So much fun, and now you have audience engagement!

But what if you don’t have additional questions that need to be asked? No worries! Here’s a list of generic questions that tend to emerge in panels across various contexts. You can use this list as your potential question cards – and it may even inspire you to create others!

Potential Pick-a-Card Questions

  • “What advice would you give to someone just starting in [specific field/industry]?”
  • “In your experience, what are the best practices for [specific challenge or task]?”
  • “Can you share a challenging experience you faced in your career and how you overcame it?”
  • “What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your role/industry?”
  • “Where do you see the industry heading in the next 5-10 years?”
  • “What emerging technologies do you believe will have the biggest impact on our industry?”
  • “What’s your stance on [controversial topic/issue] affecting our industry?”
  • “How do you think [recent event] will impact the industry?”
  • “How can [specific technology or methodology] be applied effectively in our industry?”
  • “Can you give an example of how [innovative concept] is being used in real-world projects?”
  • “What skills are essential for success in [specific role/industry] today?”
  • “How do you stay updated with industry trends and continue learning?”
  • “What do you see as the biggest challenge facing our industry today, and how can we tackle it?”
  • “How do you approach problem-solving in complex projects?”
  • “How important is networking in our industry, and what are your strategies for effective networking?”
  • “Can you discuss a time when collaboration led to a successful outcome in a project?”
  • “How do you address diversity and inclusion within your teams or projects?”
  • “What impact has focusing on diversity had on your organization or projects?”

I am sure there are a ton more generic questions to add to the mix. I keep adding them so the next time I want to invoke my inner carnival barker, I can ask my panelists or audience to “pick a card…any card!”

Related Articles

How to Structure a Panel Discussion

10 Common Mistakes Panel Moderators Make

How to Moderate a Panel


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.

Kristin Arnold

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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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