Professional Panel Moderator Kristin Arnold asks Warren Evans, professional speaker, futurist and member of the Canadian Speaker Hall of Fame to share his perspective on what to do when the energy starts to fizzle out during a panel discussion during meetings, conferences, and conventions.
Kristin: Warren, what do you do when your panel energy fizzles out and you are no longer receiving great responses from panel members?
Warren: Well, I will do some things where I flip to the power and resources in the room because I have got five people who are on the panel, and me sitting on the stage, and 500 people sitting in an audience. And so I will have already asked the AV guys to give me a wireless handheld. If I’m wearing the lavaliere rig and all that kind of stuff, I’ll just let that sit on the front of the stage, and I’ll just say to the panel, “This is good; we’ve got some good stuff we’re talking about here. I’ve done my homework and figured out what I think this audience would like to hear, but having listened to your input on these things, they may have some other things they’d like to hear at this moment.”
And I’ll just stand up and walk out into the audience. And if I need to, I’ve done things like: “So I’m going to go out and talk to you folks; I’ll be there in less than two minutes, give some thought to this. What is this panel not talking candidly and pointedly about that you think needs to get talked about in this business while we are here gathered today?”
And then I’ll just turn around, and I’ll go get my mic, and I will quite purposely wander for a bit because it’s an eye contact thing; it’s a connection. But you’ve got to give people a chance to formulate that kind of stuff, and you’ve got to be careful that you don’t get the one guy who does have the bizarre hobby horse, that thinks the industry really ought to spend a lot of money on research to find out when Elvis is coming back from Mars.
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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!