Professional Panel Moderator Kristin Arnold asks Brian Walter, Founder of Extreme Meetings and member of the US Speaker Hall of Fame to share his ideas on how to end a panel discussion at meetings, conferences and conventions.


Video Transcript

Kristin: Brian, how do you like to end your panel discussions?

Brian: Ending is critical. Here’s what happens most of the time. Most of the time we just run out the clock. Usually the moderator is—and we’ve done everything from the audience dynamics view to ensure we have a crappy ending. That’s just the usual default thing because here is what almost always happens. The moderator asks all of his/her questions whatever things we’re going to do. Then they turn it over to the audience. Do we have any last questions from the audience? Oh yes, over here, and okay we only have time for about one more question and you turn over all of your power. We have time for one more question and we always, always, the lamest person—this question is the only thing standing between the audience numbers and lunch. Okay, that’s always the way it is. “Yeah, I’ve got a question.” And here comes the twelve-part question. The people are rolling their eyes. People actually surreptitiously start to leave because they hate whoever it is that’s asking that question. That person has some genetic flaw in them that waits for that moment to ask that question. You turned over that power to them.

So a couple things: One is you say we have time for about two more questions. We’ll take one live question and one from the cards or that was emailed ahead of time which, of course, is one that you’ve staged. Because you want to make sure you end on a great question Another one is that technique next week, next month, next year where it’s the advice one where you get all of them thinking forward and an application of everything that has been talked about and they leave on that. Here’s what we’re going to do. Our last one, “okay, next week, next month, next year.” Well, if you apply all that, you will indeed have a great next week, next month, next year. Give a round of applause for our panel. It’s time for lunch, talk, cocktails, whatever it’s going to be and everyone believes it was a good panel.

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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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