Panel Discussion Tip #146 with Glenn Thayer: What Drives You Crazy About Panel Discussions?

Professional Panel Moderator Kristin Arnold asks Glenn Thayer, Master of Ceremonies and conference moderator to share his perspective on what drives him crazy about panel discussions at meetings, conferences, and conventions.

Video Transcript

Kristin: Glenn, what drives you absolutely crazy about panels?

Glenn: Too many people and too many presentations. I really dislike the eight people on stage, eight different presentations and I’ll never forget there was one at a conference I attended. I was the virtual host for the conference. I had nothing to do with the panel and I can’t even remember if there was a panel moderator. I mean this is how it was. I don’t even remember a moderator being there.

There were eight people on stage and each person had ten minutes to give a presentation and all of them at the end said, “Oh wait. I know I’m running out of time but I have three more slides.” And each one of them did it and that’s what I don’t remember for a moderator saying, “You’re done. Let’s move on. Next person.” That was the time you have and there was no agreement and in the end, there was no Q&A, and it was something that was exciting. It was about hybrid meetings and how to do hybrid meetings the right way. And all these experts that had this great insight but no one was able to ask questions. And that’s what drove me crazy, things that were pertinent at that time that would have a great contribution to people in the room. Nothing was able to be asked.

It also drives me crazy when somebody goes down the list and the moderator goes, “Okay, so our question is for our panelist…” and they ask the question and they look at the panelist and they ask them. Then they ask the next panelist and they ask the next panelist and they go down to the laundry list what everybody thinks. Truth of the matter is it doesn’t really matter what everybody thinks. What’s the answer to the question? You know, what’s going to give the most exciting answer. And there may only be two people on the panel who can give a concise answer and it’s done. It’s time to move on to the next question.

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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