What is your biggest fear in moderating a panel discussion at meetings, conferences, and conventions?  Professional Panel Moderator Kristin Arnold asks Glenn Thayer, Master of Ceremonies and conference moderator to share his perspective.


Video Transcript

Kristin:  Glenn, what is your biggest fear when moderating panels, and what do you do to overcome that fear?

Glenn:  You know, it’s usually going into that it’s going to be heated or it’s going to go somewhere. They’re going to want to go somewhere that we don’t have the expertise to be able to manage it. One of the panelists is going to go off the handle and go somewhere else. Almost like a Jerry Springer moment.

I would say that, that would be my biggest concern that usually comes up but I don’t moderate panels that have enough of the toxicity. That would be a concern. And all the pre-production work handles those worries and any of the worse questions that could come up. I’ll talk to my client. What are the most off-handed questions that you think of that would come up? And I’m just looking at it as a panel moderator but also a facilitator of this session. Is this question going to move things forward? Or is it going to set them back and cause an argument or cause a problem?

I mean it’s really what it’s going to be. All those agreements beforehand and talking with all those panel participants, that really handles all of the, “What could happen?” Well, I don’t know if I get really an idea of who these people are. I’ve talked with them on the phone. I’ve talked with them via Skype. I’ve met with them during the rehearsal. They know each other, they shake hands. They’re having conversations with each other. Okay, I know I’m in a pretty safe space.


Looking for More?

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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