Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 13

Introduce each person in a brief but personal way.
Don't let panelists introduce themselves, and don't
read prewritten bios. Both are boring and usually run
on too long. Instead, tell the audience why each
speaker was asked to participate. What does he or she bring to
the discussion? Again, this is where the moderator needs to
know the panelists and each one's area of expertise.

3

Manage the available time. The moderator needs to
know how long each section of the presentation
should take and keep the session running on time-
which means he or she needs to be able to shut
down speakers who go on too long. The pre-discussion will
probably reveal who likes to talk. I have used a small bell to
indicate that a speaker's time is up, which can be a playful way
to keep the session on schedule. If the opposite problem
arises-if speakers end their remarks early-the moderator
should be prepared to ask questions or seek elaboration to add
more value.

4

Use slides sparingly. Limit the use of slides to a few
discussion points and to display information like the
panelist's name and contact details. I'm in favor of
banning slides altogether because a panel should be
a place for dialogue that happens naturally. When slides are
used, presenters can be tempted to stick to the displayed text,
as if it's a script.

5
6

Different opinions should be heard and respected.
It can be a letdown for the audience when each
panelist says the same thing. But worse is a situation
when panelists disagree and get aggressive in

making their points. Different perspectives make conversations
interesting and deepen learning. The moderator needs to know
when and how to break up an interaction between panelists
that gets heated.
Pay attention to room and seating layouts. The
moderator's job is to make sure the panelists are
comfortable and keep the conversation flowing. The
arrangement of the room can have a big effect on
the interaction. Don't have the panelists sit on a stage behind
a draped table; get them close to the audience. For a small
group, consider using director's chairs with attendees circled
up close. For a larger group, consider cushioned chairs or small
couches with a coffee table nearby for water or coffee. And
avoid using stools, which are uncomfortable and can be
especially awkward for a woman wearing a dress or skirt.

7

The key is to make panel discussions feel spontaneous and
engaging. It also helps to have some giveaways that can
encourage people to ask questions or contribute their own
comments. Taking the time to prepare a good panel will lead to
productive conversations and deeper learning for attendees. z

Beth Brooks, CAE, is an association executive
(NAWIC), consultant, speaker, and facilitator.
She is the author of The New CEO's Guide,
published by ASAE.
Contact Beth at beth@texas.net.

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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
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