Powerful Panel Discussion Tip #257 with Warren Evans: Giving the Microphone To An Audience Member

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 whether you should give the microphone to an audience member during a panel discussion at meetings, conferences, and conventions.

Video Transcript

Kristin: Warren, how do you feel about giving the microphone to an audience member?

Warren: You never, ever let an audience person have a microphone. This business of sticking the microphones on the stands throughout the audience, wrong! Even if it’s a big crowd, you’ve got 1500 people there. Then you’ve got half a dozen runners out there that you are directing from the stage or from wherever you are, and they hang onto that microphone and never let anybody take that microphone out of their hands.

I will reword the question when it’s done, and often I can have some fun with it. So we may get a bit of a laugh out of it but end up delivering to the panel that appointed question. It also gives me the opportunity if I’m holding onto the mic to do this, and I will do this to someone else is holding onto the mic and somebody’s 500 feet away.

It gives me the opportunity to say “Bob, that’s all very interesting. Is there a question? The one thing we all want to know at this moment is there a question coming?” We know the guy who wants to get up and make a 12-minute speech. 

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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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