Professional Panel Moderator Kristin Arnold asks Glenn Thayer, Master of Ceremonies and conference moderator to share how he develops questions for the panelists for a robust panel discussion at meetings, conferences and conventions.


Video Transcript

Kristin: Glenn, how do you come up with the questions to ask the panelists?

Glenn: When you look at it, obviously each section of the conference, and each session, whether they’re general sessions, whether it be breakouts, they all have outcomes and objectives based to them.

So with my clients, I sit down and say, “What are the objectives or outcomes of this session?” And so for this session, it was like okay, “What is the Patient Centered Medical Home and what does it mean to your practice?” knowing that there are people that are out in the audience that will not have that model at all and totally disagree with that model.

How do we do that? Well let’s set it up and frame it. “Okay, Dr. Bender let’s cede the questions. How did you come about thinking that this was a good idea? You know, how is it benefiting your practice?” And really what it allowed him to do was go through the thought process that he went through to decide that this is where he wanted to move his practice.

In that way, we could kind of set it up to see people who were on the fence who haven’t done it or aren’t going to do it. Why would someone else choose to do that? So then we could have a basis for discussion and then must look at it from an insurance company point of view. What’s the benefit to them and why are they favoring something like this? Because it cuts costs as well. 

So I really wanted to put the context into it and it also shapes where you want the conversation to go. And so I wanted to talk about that and what are the benefits and what are the pitfalls, what are the challenges that they’re having. So it kind of ceded with that and then the audience could come in and say, “Well, I’m thinking about it but I’m having a challenge in this area or I’m having a challenge in regulation and compliance. So I could really set it up. So we go look at, what’s the more powerful question that would give the audience the most value at that time. 

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Kristin Arnold, professional panel moderator, and high stakes meeting facilitator is on a crusade to make all panel discussions informative, interactive, and interesting.   Specifically, she wants to help YOU become a better panel moderator.  Why?  Because 95% of annual meetings have panel discussions – and according to the 2014 Panel Report, it’s a fifty-fifty proposition they are any good at all!  Expectations decrease dramatically when your attendees walk in and see the traditional draped head-table with microphones on short stands.  There are sooooo many other ways to have a stimulating conversation!  So let’s increase the probability of success for your next panel discussion with these resources.

And, you can always go back to the playlist for more Powerful Panel Discussion Tips!


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