What things do you do during a panel discussion to interact with the audience at meetings, conferences, and conventions?  Professional Panel Moderator Kristin Arnold asked this question of Susan Morris, a fantasy author, editor and absurdly frequent panel moderator at GenCon.

Video Transcript

Kristin: Susan, what things do you do to interact with the audience?

Susan: As moderator, not a ton, other than beforehand I always walk the line and ask them about things. I also participate with the audience before the panel starts. I basically have the panelists and I chat with them, about why they’re there, what they’ve enjoyed, what they’re looking for, all this kind of stuff. And so by starting a conversation, they feel like they’re already a part of the panel. 

And then in the Q&A, of course… And I also, afterwards, after the panel, if I ever had someone who was difficult that I had to correct, I always go out and find them and talk to them and make sure that they’re okay, because sometimes it can be really harsh to have to be cut off by a moderator, and I make sure they understood what happened.


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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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