Professional Panel Moderator Kristin Arnold asks Glenn Thayer, Master of Ceremonies and conference moderator to share an example of a “presentation then panel” format for a panel discussion at meetings, conferences, and conventions.

Video Transcript

Kristin: Glenn, can you give me an example of when your “presentation then panel” really worked out well?

Glenn: This is a recent panel discussion. We had four thousand people in the audience. It was for a family physicians conference.

And the cool thing is it was done a little differently. The intros were, there were a couple of requests. All of them were doctors. The first physician who owns the medical practice wanted to do a video. He did not want to speak. He’s like, “I have a video of me testifying in front of the congress for the affordable care act. Here’s what’s going on. I want to play that video.” And it was like a two-minute video. By the way, I love videos. If we could do videos for all intro panelists, I’m good. That’s the way to go. He did a two-minute video then we had the person who runs the coalition, the CEO of the coalition. She talked about her for two minutes and talked about her experience.

And then we had the Chief Medical Officer for WellPoint. He got up. He’s name not Bill Smith. I can’t remember what his name is. I just made that up. Yes, he got up and did a PowerPoint. That was a five-minute PowerPoint with tons of bullet points. So the typical of what you think of a presentation and so we had three completely distinct different introductions for each one of the panelist. And they were special requests from each one of the panelist that they do what they wanted to do with each one. And I thought, I’ve never done it. It’s totally mixed. Let’s go for it, see what it does. So that was a great way to kick it off.

And I had the ability to throw Q&A out into the audience immediately. So I had one or two questions that were ceded already so that I could move the conversation forward but before the panelists came out, I did set up the conversation since I’m with four thousand people, putting the microphone out in the audience wasn’t really a great idea. So what we did was we used Poll Everywhere and the questions would come in to the content team backstage and we had four to five people working on those questions and then they would send the questions to me on my iPad so that I’d have the questions on stage that I can say, “Okay, this question came out for Dr. Bender, this one came in for Dr. Smith; this one came in for this person” so that I could direct the questions into the right place.

And within a matter of ten to fifteen minutes, we had over three hundred questions. And this is for a 60 minute session.


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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