What is your perspective on what panelists and moderators should be aware of visually when participating on a virtual panel discussion at a meeting, conference, or convention? Professional Panel Moderator Kristin Arnold asked this question of Terry Brock, technology trends expert, virtual panel moderator, and member of the US Speaker Hall of Fame.
Kristin: What should panelists and moderators be aware of visually when participating in a virtual panel?
Terry: Make sure you’ve brushed your teeth. Watch out for that lettuce you had for lunch, little things like that. They sound really picky and most of the time it’s not a factor, but if it does become a factor, oh my goodness, everyone sees it and starts snickering. It takes away from the message. Yes, it’s embarrassing, but it takes away because people are looking at that piece of lettuce in your teeth vs. looking at what your message is and studying that and thinking about that. Make sure that you’re groomed properly. Makeup might be a factor. Sometimes makeup might be there that you want to put a little bit of that on there.
I remember from the 1960 debates, Kennedy and Nixon, when they were in the Presidential debates here in the United States, that Nixon refused to put on makeup. He thought it wasn’t manly. I think he used a few other more colorful terms, but he didn’t want that junk. Kennedy, on the other hand, realized with TV you will present yourself better; you’ll come across better with makeup and he was right. Kennedy won the debate according to those who saw the TV. Those who heard only the radio thought that Nixon won. And so it was interesting, the audio and video. You’re in video. Make sure that your video is clear.
I remember when I was the chief enterprise blogger for Skype, we did a lot of videos; that was one of the reasons they asked me to come on board. I worked with them, did a lot of video interviews, and I would get people together. I’d say, “Okay, we’re going to do this. We’re going to do the recording performing. Let’s test the mike, test the video. Everything’s okay.” By the way, that picture that’s right behind you, you might not want the whole world seeing that particular picture. And they look and go “Oh yeah, that one. I’d better take that down shouldn’t I.” Little things like that that don’t matter when you’re on the phone at home, when you’re just operating at your home. In the home you’re on the phone; it doesn’t matter, now do matter because what we’ve done is like right now, the entire world can come in and see my study.
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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.
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