Powerful Panel Discussion Tip #264 – Scott McKain: Using PowerPoint During a Panel Discussion

Professional panel moderator Kristin Arnold asks Scott McKain, Speaker Hall of Fame and author of the book, “Create Distinction: What To Do When ‘Great’ Isn’t Good Enough To Grow Your Business,” about letting the panelists use PowerPoint during a panel discussion at meetings, conferences, and conventions.

Video Transcript

Kristin: Do you let panelists use PowerPoints?

Scott: Typically no. Which is funny because I use them in my speeches. However, if they insist upon it, one of the things that always I try to insist upon is…well then I need to see them before you use them. Which is so…it’s the antithesis of what I want as a professional speaker, right?

But a presentation is being the dissemination of information and if everybody on the panel has their PowerPoint, then I think it turns out into that series of presentations and that’s the real problem I have with that.

If somebody wants to use it in their little, you know, 90-second kickoff at the beginning, if we’re using that format, then that’s one thing. But I certainly don’t want them using a PowerPoint because the other thing is I think the strength of the panel is the non-scripted nature, the spontaneous nature of it…and if…if I ask a question and then he’s, “you know, I’m just kind of glad you asked that. I have 47 slides here.” You know that, like it reminds me of professional wrestling you know. It’s like the theme music comes on, the wrestler comes out, you know, it’s entertainment…we’re trying to act like it’s spontaneous but it’s obviously scripted because they get their cues and so that’s, that’s my challenge with it.


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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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