Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 12

panelpresentations

Seven Ways to Improve Panel Presentations
Beth Brooks, CAE

Too often, conference panels fail to engage or draw people in. But the right
moderator can help to avoid some of the most common pitfalls. With a few
adjustments, these sessions can become thoughtful spaces for dialogue and
professional learning.

I

have begun to avoid panels at conferences because they
are not always the most well-thought-out presentations,
and I usually don't get much useful information from them.
In a typical panel presentation, you hear one speaker
share information, and then others chime in to state their
agreement, adding nothing substantive to the dialogue.
There's even a standard form for panels like these. Often
titled "Lessons Learned," they typically feature experienced
professionals sharing personal successes and failures. To get
a wide variety of viewpoints, the session planner might select
four or five people to serve on the panel. The title draws you in
as you anticipate learning from numerous experiences.
So why do panel presentations often receive poor reviews?
The problem frequently begins with the moderator. Without
a skilled moderator who knows the subject matter and has
the tact and confidence to manage a discussion with multiple
participants, a panel session can quickly run off the rails.
A great panel engages in meaningful discussion that naturally
stimulates deeper thoughts and questions from the audience.
Here are some ways that a moderator can improve a panel
presentation to ensure it delivers engaging dialogue, leading
to shared learning.
12

success || july/august 2017

Make the panel feel like a conversation. Four
mini-presentations, followed by five minutes for
questions, don't add up to a panel; they're four
separate presentations. And usually, panelists spend
too much time repeating what another speaker has already
said. Each speaker should be prepared to speak on a specific
topic for three to five minutes. After the remarks, the
moderator should facilitate conversation on specific points
from each speaker. Then, the moderator opens it up for
discussion by asking questions like: Does anyone have any
observations or opinions? Has this happened to you? If so,
how did you handle it? This requires the moderator to be
listening, and noting key points each presenter makes.

1

Get to know the subject and panelists in advance.
This means the moderator has to do his or her
homework on the topic and interact with the
panelists weeks before the session. In advance
discussions, the participants get to know each other and learn
each panelists' strengths and areas of expertise. This
conversation leads to great dialogue and interaction on the
day of the panel.

2



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Success by Association - July/August 2017

President’s Message
Event Calendar
Four Ways Managers Can Help Improve Employee Performance
Attract Millennials to Your Meeting
Address These Employee Needs for Maximum Retention
Seven Ways to Improve Panel Presentations
Growing Event Attendance Through Content: Very Useful for Associations
Thank You to our Annual Meeting Sponsors
Creating a Pocket of Excellence When Surrounded by Mediocrity
Get the Message
Member Updates
5 Reasons to Consider Live Streaming Your Next Event
Strategies for Effective Business Networking for Young Professionals
Young Leader Profile
Buyers’ Guide
Advertiser Showcase
Advertiser Index
Executive Director’s Message
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - intro
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - cover1
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - cover2
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 3
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - President’s Message
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Event Calendar
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 6
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Four Ways Managers Can Help Improve Employee Performance
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Attract Millennials to Your Meeting
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 9
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 10
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Address These Employee Needs for Maximum Retention
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Seven Ways to Improve Panel Presentations
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 13
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Growing Event Attendance Through Content: Very Useful for Associations
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 15
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Thank You to our Annual Meeting Sponsors
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 17
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Creating a Pocket of Excellence When Surrounded by Mediocrity
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 19
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Get the Message
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 21
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Member Updates
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 5 Reasons to Consider Live Streaming Your Next Event
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Strategies for Effective Business Networking for Young Professionals
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 25
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Young Leader Profile
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Buyers’ Guide
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Advertiser Showcase
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Advertiser Index
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Executive Director’s Message
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - cover3
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NCES/NCES0417
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NCES/NCES0317
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NCES/NCES0217
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NCES/NCES0117
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NCES/NCES0616
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NCES/NCES0516
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NCES/NCES0416
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NCES/NCES0316
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NCES/NCES0216
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NCES/NCES0116
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NCES/NCES0615
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NCES/NCES0515
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NCES/NCES0415
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com