Professional panel moderator, Kristin Arnold asks Neen James, an expert on leveraging your focus and paying attention to what matters most at work and in life, how to surprise and delight the audience during a panel discussion at a meeting, conference, or convention.


Video Transcript

Kristin: Neen, how can we surprise the audience with spontaneous bits of information during a panel discussion?

Neen: And so, I use researchers. So, you’ve made…and you can, you know, I use researchers all the time because of my keynotes. And I always customize components of my speech for an audience. So, I have hired these researchers in New York, and I’ll say to them, “Find me an interesting fact about this industry. Find me something specific about this company no one would know.” Or maybe, for example, I’m a huge advocate for what companies are doing to support their community. So say, “Tell me who they’re donating to, what are the charities they support?”

And so, on the panel, I might say, “I love that you guys gave $5 million to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.” And then the CFO and the CEO were sitting there going, “Oh my God, how does she know that?” Because it’s about sharing. Sometimes even the audience didn’t know they were getting $5 million. So, as a panelist, don’t just think how do I answer this question? Think about how do I answer it, elevate it, and add more value that keeps people’s attention?


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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