Panel Discussion Tip #212 with Mark Sanborn: Do You Prefer to Sit or Stand While Moderating?

Professional Panel Moderator Kristin Arnold asks Mark Sanborn, Leadership Keynote Speaker, panel moderator, and member of the US Speaker Hall of Fame to share his preference on where he likes to be (sit or stand?) during a panel discussion at meetings, conferences, and conventions.


Video Transcript

Kristin: So Mark, do you prefer to sit or stand when moderating a panel discussion?

Mark: Personally, I like to sit because if the panelists are sitting they’re more comfortable if I’m seated. If I’m standing, again, it’s subtle and there are people out there that would argue it and that’s fine, but I think that standing can be a little bit off-putting for both the audience and the panel. Now, I would say there are times that I would be standing.

For instance, to introduce the panel, then I would prefer to sit down while I do the panel moderation and then maybe, at the end stand up which then signals the panel is over and then I make any concluding remarks and thank the panelists. But when I’m actually interacting, I kind of like the idea of if you want to speak to little kids, you get down on their level, it’s hard if you call someone into your office and the boss is sitting and you’re standing or the boss is standing and you’re sitting, it creates a certain kind of disequilibrium.


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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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