Powerful Panel Discussion Tip #176 w/ Glenn Thayer: How to Intervene When a Panelist Goes Off Topic

Professional Panel Moderator Kristin Arnold asks Glenn Thayer, Master of Ceremonies and conference moderator to share his perspective on how he likes to intervene when a panelist goes off topic during a panel discussion at meetings, conferences, and conventions.


Video Transcript

Kristin: Glenn, how do you intervene when a panel member goes off-topic?

Glenn: What I ended up doing is, for the conversation, it was an open Q&A as well, I would stop the one gentleman from the one association and then I would pause and I would remind everybody in the room that the other association that was being attacked, serves a completely different audience and has a completely different reason for being.

We had one that had political action committees and had advocacy on. They were on Capitol Hill all the time, lobbying. The other one was just education and research, there was no lobbying. So you had two completely different things and they served different markets. And so what I did with one is that I put them on hold and said, “Hang on a second; I want to hear what they have to say.” And then they would respond.

…“Or hold that thought for a second. I want to hear a feedback on this before we get any further.” And then we have an opportunity for someone else to share their thoughts and insights.

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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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