How can a panel moderator can kick off the discussion after the introductions have been made during a panel discussion?  Professional Panel Moderator Kristin Arnold asked this question of Scott McKain, international speaker and moderator, bestselling author and member of the US Speaker Hall of Fame.


Video Transcript

Kristin:  What do you like to do after the panel has been introduced?

Scott:  Including the introductory remarks. Sometimes we use the introductory remarks. Sometimes… kind of what I like because after the brief introduction, I say I’m going to begin the discussion by posing this question. Now that will be a surprise to the panel members because they know I’m going to do that because I’ve already covered that in a conference call. I want to begin our discussion by posing this question.

You know, if the panel’s topic changes in the printing industry. I might begin by saying, “There’s a lot of you who had printing experience. So let me begin with this question, what’s the biggest change you’ve seen to this point in the printing industry? Which then obviously gets them and you know it helps release some of their nervousness as well. Right? Because you threw them a soft ball to begin with. And it’s a question they know is coming because you know one of the things that we neglect often is the fact that our panel members have nerves. You know they get butterflies so anything we can do as moderator to get it going and to get them into the flow of the discussion as opposed to being nervous, sitting on a chair, you know, sitting in front of all of these folks, it will help us later on in the discussion. So throw them with a soft ball in the beginning. Ask them about what the biggest change is that they’ve seen to this point. Then sets itself up for the question, okay, so what’s the next big change that you think you’re going to see? What’s the next big…right and so therefore moves up along.


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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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