Do you meet with the panelists right before moderating a panel discussion?  Professional panel moderator Kristin Arnold asked this question of Boston Globe journalist and panel moderator, Scott Kirsner, who also wrote the highly rated Harvard Business Review article on How to Moderate a Panel Like a Pro.

Video Transcript

Kristin: Do you meet with the panelists right before the panel begins?

Scott: Yeah where it’s just let’s get comfortable with each other and like make sure everybody knows each other first name so they’re not saying like: “As the lady on the left of the panel so brilliantly said.” You know it’s like “No as Janet said.” And then also just really asking that question of like, “So what do we have to talk about in this hour?” Like what is one story that you really want to tell? Like what’s one funny anecdote? What’s one burning issue that we have to talk about given that it’s you know, whatever Tuesday October 1st and what’s on the minds of people in this industry and in this room.

You know they want you to be the traffic cop and the referee and let them get involved and kind of be their representative up there. They don’t want you to be sort of showing off how brilliant you are.


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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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