Monday, June 1, 2009

Avoiding Panel Hell

Why are panel discussions often so dreadfully boring?

After all, isn't it more exciting to listen to four different voices than one?


But most of the time, if it's true that less is more, it's also true that more is less.

Most of the time, the panelists speak for far too long, never engage each other, and (perhaps because they share the spotlight) are not able to engage the audience.

The solution?


Suggest that the moderator bring the panelists together during the planning process so that each can prepare his/her presentation knowing fully what the others are talking about.

In other words, see the panel discussion as one presentation - with four different parts. This will help the audience put it all together and stay focused.

From the Green Room: End panel hell. Bring the presenters together to coordinate an exciting, unified program that flows smoothly from start to finish.


Anonymous said...

Another pithy but superb bit of practical advice. This blog is always worth reading!

Sarah Gershman said...

Thank you for your feedback!

Barry R. Bainton, PhD, MBA said...

Panel discussions are popular in academic meeting settings. The best are those where the moderator/facilitator/organizer/coordinator takes full responsibility for the performance. This is a role one can learn from joining an organization such as Toastmasters International. Sarah you are right on target.

Sarah Gershman said...

I imagine that academic panels have a unique challenge when it comes to engaging the audience. Thanks for reading, Barry.