stale panel discussion topic
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Topic Premise and Title for Your Panel Discussion

A meeting organizer recently contacted me about an upcoming panel they wanted me to moderate. She said, “The topic is about Artificial Intelligence (AI).” Shocker, as everyone is talking about AI right now!


I then asked about the premise and the title of the panel…and she said they hadn’t gotten that far in their thinking.

Which is not uncommon. Many meeting organizers select a topic, and reach out to a couple of panelists who can talk on the subject. Ask one of them to moderate it and then move on to the next item on the meeting checklist.

Whoa! Not so fast! It IS a fabulous idea to start with a pithy one to three-word “topic” that serves as the major subject of the panel. But don’t stop there!

Select an interesting “premise” for the panel: an assertion or proposition which forms the basis of the panel discussion. Here are some premise examples for an AI panel:

  • The pros and cons of AI
  • Best practices in using AI in business applications
  • The unintended consequences of AI
  • Intellectual property issues with AI

Notice, each of these premises takes the discussion in a specific direction vs. allowing the topic to stay too general.

Finally, you’ll want to create an intriguingtitle” that signals the fact this panel will be lively and engaging instead of dull and boring. A catchy and effective title should:

  • Be appropriate to the occasion or tie into the conference theme
  • Provide enough information about the subject so that potential attendees can tell whether this is likely to be of interest to them
  • Be succinct and to the point
  • Pique the interest of the reader or potential listener

The premise and the title may be the same, but probably not. “The Pros and Cons of AI” sounds kinda boring. What about “AI: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”? Or “The Blessing and the Curse of AI”? I’m sure there are TONS of ways you can liven up the topic and the premise to create a title that has the audience yearning to attend your panel discussion!

Related Articles

How to Organize a Panel Discussion

What to do with a Stale Panel Discussion Topic

How to Structure a Panel Discussion Format

10 Most Common Mistakes Panelists Make During a Panel Discussion

For more information about how to moderate a lively & informative panel discussion, check out our free 7-part video series or our 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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