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October 27, 2015

Americas: Five Ways to Turn Panels From Boring To Brilliant

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PanelsPanels can be droning, painful exercises in ego-fluffing. They can feature overbearing panelists who commandeer the discussion and cow the other panelists—and the moderators who let them—into submission. They can not only not engage the audience, but actually disengage them by ignoring them altogether. They can be, in the words of author, speaker, and panel-improvement evangelist Kristin Arnold, “horrid.” But they don’t have to be.

Though she was on her own, not leading a panel on panels during a session at Smart Monday at IMEX America in Las Vegas, Arnold engaged us in a very informative, and very fun, discussion on how to make panels a whole lot better than most of them usually are. 

What Are the Worst Things About Panels?
So how do we loathe panels? It turns out there are 10 main ways, according to a recent survey.

10. Too many panelists. The optimal number, Arnold said, is three or four--four is best if you are concerned that one may drop out.
9. Poor time management
8. A panel discussion that isn’t actually a conversation. Especially painful is the hot-potato moderator who asks each panelist the same question, so by the time you get to the third or fourth, they’re straining to come up with anything remotely interesting to say that hasn’t already been said.
7. A panel that goes off-topic or has no real point
6. No audience engagement
5. Ego and self-promotion (one of my personal pet peeves)
4. Out-of-control panelists
3. Unprepared moderator and panelists
2. Dominating panelists
1. An ineffective moderator.

Read more at MeetingsNet.com...

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