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Players in a Panel Discussion

A panel discussion involves more than a panel moderator and panelists. Consider involving these 10 players in a panel discussion:

  • Panel Organizer. Manages the overall logistics and coordination, ensuring the panel discussion aligns with the event’s theme and goals.
  • Champion. Typically an executive within the organization, the Champion is an advocate for the panel within the organization or community, helping to secure resources, support, and visibility.
  • Sponsor. Provides financial or in-kind support to enable the panel discussion, often with a vested interest in the topic or audience.
  • Panel Moderator. Facilitates the discussion, ensuring it stays on topic, flows smoothly, and engages both the panelists and the audience effectively.
  • Panelists. Subject matter experts who share their insights, experiences, and viewpoints on the panel discussion topic.
  • Producer: Oversees the detailed planning and execution of the panel discussion, coordinating between all stakeholders (panelists, moderator, sponsors, etc.) to ensure a seamless experience and that the event achieves its objectives.
  • A/V Technicians. Handle the technical aspects of sound, lighting, and video, ensuring the discussion is seen and heard by all attendees.
  • Microphone Runners. Assist in audience participation by moving microphones throughout the audience for questions and comments.
  • Ombudsman. Acts as a neutral party to address any concerns or conflicts that may arise during the panel, ensuring fairness and respect. Can also vet incoming audience questions.
  • Audience: Participants who attend the discussion, contributing with their attention, questions, and engagement, shaping the dialogue’s direction.

Note, the same person may wear one, two, or three hats at a time!

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Players in a Panel Discussion

Related Articles

How to Structure a Panel Discussion

10 Common Mistakes Panel Moderators Make

How to Moderate a Panel


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.

Photo source Jan-Jaap @MiModeration  

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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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