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powerful words to use in a panel discussion

I was chatting with my colleague, Don Yaeger about panel discussions and he asked me, “Do you know the three most powerful words to use in a panel discussion?”


I leaned in and asked, “What do YOU think are the three most powerful words to use in a panel discussion?”

Are you ready for it? He answered, “Tell me more!”

Ahhh….that’s brilliant! I then followed up to ask, “Tell me more!”

Three magical words that inspire people to share deeper, tell a story.

The phrase “Tell me more” wields significant power in the context of a panel discussion for several reasons, aligning closely with the principles of effective communication, engagement, and exploration of depth in conversation. Here’s why these three words can be particularly impactful:

Here are seven reasons why these three words are the most powerful words to use in a panel discussion:

  1. Promotes Thoughtfulness. This invitation to elaborate can encourage panelists to reflect more deeply on their experiences or opinions, leading to more thoughtful and considered responses.
  2. Promotes Openness. This phrase can create a safe space for panelists that their insights are valued and that there’s a willingness to listen without immediate judgment or interruption.
  3. Invites Detail. It also sends a signal to the panelists that they need to delve deeper into the subject matter and express their thoughts more fully.
  4. Facilitates Clarity. By asking for more information, panelists get the opportunity to clarify their points, ensuring that the audience has a clear and concise understanding of their key messages.
  5. Builds Connection. It helps in building a rapport between the panelists and the audience, making the conversation more lively and personable.
  6. Uncovers Insights. “Tell me more” can lead to the revelation of unexpected insights, anecdotes, or data points that might not have been shared with a more direct question.
  7. Stimulates Discussion. The response can also prompt other panelists to think about their perspectives on the topic, potentially leading to a more robust and multifaceted discussion.

These three words are a simple yet powerful tool in a moderator’s arsenal, capable of transforming a panel discussion from a mere exchange of viewpoints into a dynamic, engaging, and insightful dialogue. One caveat though: use these three words judiciously to ensure that it remains effective and doesn’t disrupt the flow of the discussion!

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For more information about how to moderate a lively & informative panel discussion, check out our free 7-part video series on how to moderate a panel and other resources to help you organize, moderate, or be a panel member.

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Kristin ArnoldKristin Arnold
KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CSP, CPF|Master has been facilitating meaningful conversations between executives and managers to make better decisions and achieve extraordinary results for 25+ years. She's a leading authority on moderating panel discussions and passionate about finding the perfect olive to complement a vodka martini.
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