Professional Panel Moderator Kristin Arnold asks Glenn Thayer, Master of Ceremonies and conference moderator to share his perspective on how important it is to get in touch with the panelists prior to a panel discussion at meetings, conferences, and conventions.
Kristin: Glenn, when preparing for a panel discussion, is it important to get in touch with panelists ahead of time?
Glenn: Yes, absolutely. I mean these are conversations. We had several calls with all the panelists. So I knew where they were coming from. I wanted to get to know them. I want to know what their challenges are, what they’re trying to convey. What do they want to get out of it? Obviously when you’re a panelist, most of the time you have an agenda. If you’re on a panel and you’re a panelist, you usually have an agenda and that’s what I want to know about. I want to try to be prepared for as many agendas as possible.
So there’s, “The reason why I’m on the panel is I want to explain what our commitment is to the Family Center Medical Home.” The underlying agenda might be, “We want to work with you physicians and we want more business.” Or could be, you know, you could have a laundry list. So I want to try to uncover some of those hidden agendas as well so I’m not blindsided during in the middle of our conversation.
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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!