Association Connection - Summer 2016 - (Page 16)
THAT ENGAGE YOUR
tips to share with speakers to
ensure every session is a success.
By Sarah Michel, CSP
Panel discussions are still a commonly used
format for conference organizers. They're
easy to program and put the kids in the
show, but rarely add learning value to the
Some of the reasons panels fail to connect
* Lack of preparation and take-charge
leadership in the learning design.
* Watered down content due to general
vs. relevant topics and opinions.
* Low learning value equivalent to a lecture. (Instead of a monologue lecture,
panels are often dialogues).
* Panelists forget who they're serving...
Today's premium attendee wants to participate and feel like they're the fourth or fifth
member of the panel. They want to experience a fast-paced, unpredictable, relevant
and forward leaning conversation. They
don't want a formal presentation with a
moderator who ignores the audience.
A big mistake conference organizers make
with panels is not holding them accountable
for the learning outcomes of the session.
Coach the moderator and the panel participants just like you would a solo speaker
for any other educational session.
Borrowing from TED's speaker commandments, we created the 10 Panel Commandments. These commandments may
be borrowed in whole or part to help your
continuous improvement efforts and speaker
coaching. Some organizations make this part
of their speaker agreement. Others share
helpful tips like these in their speaker portal
Thou Shalt Serve the Audience. They paid good money
(at the very least invested their
time) to be there so speak to them (not just
each other). Remember without an audience, there is no panel. Don't make them
feel like their ease dropping. Help them
solve problems and find solutions. Help
them connect the dots. Meaning trumps
Thou Shalt be Prepared.
Research the other panelist's
positions and determine what
makes you/your position unique from the
others. Keep your answers short and concise. Prepare 3-5 key messages that matter to this audience. Be ready to support
your points with concrete examples and
crisp, concise stories that humanize your
message and drive it home.
Thou Shalt not Bluster. When
you are speaking, keep it short.
No more than 2 minutes is a good
goal. People prefer snappy, well thought out
answers to interesting questions. Think and
respond in sound bites.
Thou Shalt be Additive, not
Repetitive. Don't repeat what
has already been said by another
panelist. Speak up if you have a different
perspective or point of view.
Thou Shalt Disagree Diplomat ically. At some point,
one of the panelists will say
something that is not consistent with
your own view or perspective. You've
got to weigh in! Respectfully disagree
without being disagreeable. Don't disagree simply because you can. Disagree
S u m m e r 2 016
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Association Connection - Summer 2016
A Message from the President
The New Association Meeting
Safe & Sound: Meeting Security in Today’s World
Powerful Panels That Engage Your Audience
Successful Retreat Secrets
TNSAE’s Industry Education Day
Destination Planner: Asheville, N.C.
Index of Advertisers/Advertiser.com
Association Connection - Summer 2016