How can a moderator extend the conversation after a great panel discussion at a meeting, conference or convention? Professional panel moderator Kristin Arnold asked this question of Boston Globe journalist and panel moderator, Scott Kirsner, who also wrote the highly rated Harvard Business Review article on How to Moderate a Panel Like a Pro.
Kristin: Do you extend the conversation online at all or in other ways?
Scott: No. I mean I think you know online is like that the big you know it’s the big challenge, that I don’t think that anyone does a really good job of having a great group that gets together in the real world and that also transfers to online. I think it may just be too different places or no one has solved that problem yet. Because when you try to bring the conversation to an online forum it tends to like devolve to like the speakers and the high level people aren’t there participating but all the people who are like looking for jobs or looking to do business development are there participating and you know.
But I do think in the conference venue you know you can end by committing the speakers to you know “These speakers are all going to be around for the next ten or fifteen minutes if you want to come up here and you know ask them a few more questions. They’re going to be in the book store signing books or whatever.” But you know most speakers if they’re not total jerk will have or overscheduled will have the ten or fifteen minutes after the panels where they could have wholly conversations with people.
And sometimes if there is question or he’s asking like trying to do follow up questions or ask something super detailed you know I will kind of differ that to like, “Well one of our panelist is going to take a quick crack at that, but if you want some more, you know some more nuance or some more details about that what don’t you guys talk after the session.” Because sometimes people do ask questions that are like really specific to them you know like, “Well my son is in the job market right now and is trying to become a personal trainer and you know he lives in Spokane Washington” and you know it’s like not relevant to a lot of people in the audience.
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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!