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The Audience and Panel Discussions
I had this comment about the audience and panel discussions on my YouTube 7-part video series: “This is the problem with moderators. ‘its all about the audience’ the audience is stupid. It should be all about nailing down facts, and exposing lies and logical fallacies.” [sic]

I instantaneously fired back “Well, I suppose that is one way of looking at it. However, if your audience doesn’t care about the facts, the lies and/or fallacies, then it’s falling on deaf ears. Nothing will change, so why bother having a panel at all?”
The Audience and Panel Discussions

Of course, I didn’t get a response, but it got me thinking….

The problem IS with the moderator if he or she isn’t clued into what the audience cares about. Perhaps the audience IS “stupid” (or ignorant) but that is not a problem – unless the moderator ignores them.

The panel discussion is for the audience and should inform them of the “facts” or persuade them to take action.

One of my favorite books about presentations is Nick Morgan’s Give Your Speech, Change the World – and I believe the same holds true with panel discussions. What is it that you want the audience to do with those facts, lies, and fallacies? A great panel moderator will structure the panel to help the audience understand. Otherwise, why bother having a panel discussion if nothing changes at all?

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Related Articles

Engage Your Panel Audience Early and Often

How and When to Manage Audience Q&A

How to Let the Audience Drive the Panel Discussion


For more information about how to moderate a lively & informative leadership 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 by wes lewis on Unsplash

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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