This is dynamic and unpredictable. For example, ask each panelist to offer a strong opinion on the topic in 30 seconds or less. Show the panelists how to log on, mute themselves (especially if they have a coughing fit! For me, moderating a panel isn’t a boring thing for a stodgy industry-specific conference at a niche event. background: ##FFFFFF; You should ask what everybody else is thinking: “Whoa WAIT. background: #eb4924; Editor’s Note: “Moderating a Panel Discussion” is a Level 5 elective project in all 11 paths of the Toastmasters Pathways learning experience. background: #ff5700; (I’ve been doing this for years and even did an IGNITE talk about this several years ago.). background: #FFFFFF; As you rise in your career and your visibility grows, you’ll likely be called upon to participate in a panel discussion — or to moderate one. Please boo.” It livens up the room. Just as an orchestra conductor would never whip out his viola to play a solo, your job is to encourage your panelists to give great performances. Bring positive energy to the virtual room. You might ask: “Tell me about your career path to get you where you are today.” Someone might respond: “Okay, so I have a bit of a non-traditional background. You just can’t play both roles at once. The more specific the example you can get them to divulge, the more rewarding and relatable it is for everyone else in the room. If they really want to say something, they will. Here’s my go-to backup plan for virtual panel discussions: Especially in the virtual world, it’s easy to have a chitchat with the panelists and literally lose sight of your audience. I mean…it is…but only sort of. PG Program in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning , Statistics for Data Science and Business Analysis, The elegant import button, built for your web app, Building A Custom Contact Center: Top Hacks From Telnyx. color: white; There’s nothing worse than a panel discussion that lets one person tell long-winded stories without giving anyone else a chance to interject. The next time you’re invited to moderate a panel discussion, I hope you own the opportunity for what it is — a chance to help uncover interesting tidbits, secrets, and real-world examples from incredibly smart people. Take questions from the chat box, take a quick poll, conduct a panelist “lightning round,” call on a participant. So don’t let the randomness of the room impact your big finish. At one recent conference where I was a panelist, my moderator didn’t contact me until the morning of our session. I Agree. Second — Do not stick to a script. Then raise the stakes, probing more controversial areas. If you’re wondering whether someone is droning on too long, the audience probably thinks they are. marketing strategist and professional speaker. Third, don’t be afraid to wield the power you’ve been given. Moderating a panel is an IRL version of the hot seat: You get to drill people publicly about a thing they all care about while sharing very little about yourself in return. Great…you’ve snagged the runner-up position instead of being selected a full-on speaker. Where does the panel agree and disagree about the topic? Do people seem jazzed? Here are four strategies to ensure that when you’re moderating, you create the conditions for an insightful exchange. First, it’s important to prepare your panelists in advance for what to expect. If you have been asked to moderate a panel, be aware that there is more to this than simply firing off a few questions … Information about your device and internet connection, including your IP address, Browsing and search activity while using Verizon Media websites and apps. Plan how you will introduce yourself and welcome the audience, as well as describe the technology, topic, and panelists. color: #0248c2; Typically, moderator-curated questions have a flow that moves from strategic to the more tactical: You also should consider how you want to ask the questions to the panelists. Even if a biomedical engineer has the most interesting research project in the world to discuss, it won’t matter at all if you’re putting her in front of a group of electronic dance music fanatics. Don’t ask panelists for “one final thought.” The lamest way to conclude a panel is by giving each panelist an opportunity for a concluding oration. Here you have a group of insanely high-power people up on a stage together — and yet, time and time again, I would walk out of these events and conversations having learned…absolutely nothing. “Tell me more,” you could say, or “What do you mean by that?” or “Can you explain that in more detail?” That enables the conversation to go deeper, away from the panelists’ typical talking points and into more fruitful territory.