Panel Discussion Tip #191 with Neen James: How to Keep the Audience on the Edge of their Seats

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, on how to keep the audience on the edge of their seats during a panel discussion at a meeting, conference, or convention.


Video Transcript

Kristin: Neen, what are some things panelists can do to keep the audience on the edge of their seats?

Neen: Think about the responses. Think about telling a combination of stories, case studies, good news, using current events, using world news, using ancient history, using nursery rhymes, using song lyrics, using statistics.

Think about a variety of ways you can respond. Don’t go back to the same pattern every single time. Sometimes I’ll use an ancient history example. I’ve been known to use Cicero, who was an amazing orator, to talk about the art of oration and how it’s so vital as our current century artists to have the ability to capture an audience’s attention and keep it. So, use someone from ancient history that people have kind of heard about but they don’t know anything about.

Use information nobody knows. You know, when Oprah gave a speech recently, she shared something none of the public really knew about and so it made people lean in and want to know the end of the story. So, sometimes the audience might have a level of knowledge, give them another layer.

So, always surprise them. Do things that might be unusual, things like compare, know what their competitors are doing, and then share with them, “I’m aware your competitors are doing these things.” And then all of a sudden, they’re tuned in to hear more information.


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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