Professional Panel Moderator Kristin Arnold asks Patricia Fripp, Executive Speaker coach and member of the Speaker Hall of Fame, to share her thoughts on how to coach a panelist with a LARGE ego for an upcoming panel discussion at meetings, conferences and conventions.


Video Transcript

Kristin:  How do you coach panelists who have very large egos?

Patricia: There is a certain advantage of being mature and I never accept a client, Kristin, unless I talk to them and my whole approach to getting business is: pretend you have already hired me. Let us work on your next presentation or your next thing that I am going to be helping you in, so that one, they have a sample of what it is like working with me. Because I tell people you are investing in the quality of the advice and the rapport that you have with the speech coach. So if you have six speech coaches, we are all good, we might have different points of view, but we can all help you. You could pick the one that either you like the advice, but if you like the advice and did not have a rapport with the person, go with the one you have rapport with because we always have to feel, whoever is giving us advice, has our best interest at heart. Executives do not have people telling them the truth, which is why they hire outside consultants.

Now, let us take that same idea and put it in your panel. Because if an executive who knows a lot and has the right answers, but presents it like I know everything and you know nothing, they are going to get no buy in. So, part of mine says, “That sounds fabulous, however, what we now have to do is speak like an audience advocate. Now how do we do this and tie them in.” So perhaps and especially if I know.

So, you make a habit of once a month, having lunch with a team of the employees, anyone who wants to sit at your table, is that right, so people know you do that. That means you can take a few liberties. You are never going to lie, as my coaching partner Darren LeCroix always says that you have to be emotionally true, that does not mean that you have to be exactly true because in Hollywood, what would they say, this movie is based on the story. It is not exactly what happened, based on a true story. So if people know that you have lunch with employees, you can take what you know that you want them to know and say “As you know, every month it is my habit and frankly, my privilege to have lunch with anyone who wants to join our table and the best part of that is when you ask me questions, because this is the way I find out what you really know. And as you listen to the State of the Union, remember it was designed around your lunchtime questions.” Now they are more interested. So you see, you are taking a little creative license, but that is what I mean, you are saying what you are going to say anyway, but now they have more vested interest in listening because they feel they made a contribution or at least the co-workers who represent them made a contribution.

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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