Powerful Panel Discussion Tip #243 with Warren Evans: How to Shut Up Someone From the Audience

Professional Panel Moderator Kristin Arnold asks Warren Evans, professional speaker, futurist and member of the Canadian Speaker Hall of Fame to share his perspective on how to shut up someone from the audience who keeps talking during a panel discussion at meetings, conferences and conventions.

Video Transcript

Kristin: Warren, how do you shut someone up who just wants to keep talking?

Warren: The strategy for doing that is a little bit different, audience or panel, and again, you’ve got that continuum in there who is this panel. But the basic with the audience member is I’ll cut them off, and I’ll say, “Whoa whoa whoa, the panel was great, I’m just not that smart. What you’ve done, we’re going to deal with that at this moment one chunk at a time. We’ll get back to you if we can with the other half or the other four or five halves of the rest of your question” which gets a big laugh from the audience if you frame that in that kind of a question.

You just cut them off and say, “okay, so what we’ve got so far from Sue is she wants to know bang, bang, bang, then I turn my back to Sue which is why Sue doesn’t have her own microphone; I have the microphone. And if I cut that off or somebody else is holding it, I will just signal with my other hand and the guy on the AV board will just mute that mic. Sometimes you need to do that.

With a panel person, and again, it’s part of the fun. “Bob, can we put a wrap on this because there are three other people who would like to get in on this?” or “Bob, that’s absolutely great. I want to make sure Sue gets a chance.” And then I turn to whoever it is which is why you want to be part of the panel because that body language stuff is so significant. Or I will do a summary piece. “Okay, so if I understand this, Bob, you’re saying the government is not the problem here, it’s the way we’re framing our issue for the government; thank you for that. It’s valuable. Kristin, has Bob got this right?” 

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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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