I guarantee you will learn many new great ideas about conference panels from this Blab of my Thursday chat with the wonderful Kristin Arnold. I’ve annotated it so you can jump to the good bits . (But it’s pretty much all good bits, so you may find yourself watching the whole thing. Scroll down the whole list; there are many advice gems, excellent stories and parables, folks show up at our homes, Kristin sings, etc.!) With many thanks to Kristin and our viewers (especially Kiki L’Italien who contributed mightily) I now offer you the AMA About Conference Panels annotated time-line.
[Before I turned on recording] We talked about: what panels are and aren’t; the jobs of a moderator; panel design issues; some panel formats; and our favorite panel size (Kristin and I agree on 3).
[0:00] Types of moderator questions.
[1:30] Using sli.do to crowdsource audience questions.
[2:40] Panel moderator toolboxes. One of Kristin’s favorite tools: The Newlywed Game. “What word pops into your mind when you think of [panel topic]?”
[4:30] Audience interaction, bringing audience members up to have a conversation; The Empty Chair.
[6:00] Preparing panelists for the panel.
[9:10] Other kinds of panel formats: Hot Seat, controversial topics.
[12:00] Continuum/human spectrograms/body voting and how to incorporate into panels.
[13:50] Panelist selection.
[14:40] Asking panelists for three messages.
[16:30] How the quality of a moderator affects the entire panel.
[17:30] More on choosing panelists.
[18:30] How to provoke memorable moments during panels; Kristin gives two examples involving “bacon” and “flaw-some“.
[20:30] Panelist homework. Memorable phrases: “The phrase that pays“; Sally Hogshead example.
[23:00] Panelists asking for help. Making them look good.
[24:10] Warming up the audience. The fishbowl sandwich: using pair-share as a fishbowl opener.
[25:30] Other ways to warm up an audience: pre-panel mingling, questions on the wall, striking room sets.
[26:30] Meetings in the round.
[28:00] Kristin’s book “Powerful Panels“, plus a new book she’s writing.
[29:00] Pre-panel preparation—things to do when you arrive at the venue.
[30:00] Considerations when the moderator is in the audience.
[31:00] Panelist chairs: favorite types and a clever thing to do to make panelists feel really special.
[32:50] Where should the moderator be during the panel? Lots of options and details.
[36:20] A story about seating dynamics from the late, great moderator Warren Evans.
[37:50] The moderator as consultant.
[38:40] Goldilocks chairs.
[39:40] Adrian explains the three things you need to know to set chairs optimally.
[41:00] “Stop letting the room set being decided for you,” says Adrian, while Kristin sees herself as more of a suggester.
[44:40] When being prescriptive about what you need is the way to go.
[46:30] Ideas about using screens at panel sessions.
[49:00] The UPS truck arrives at Adrian’s office door!
[50:00] Using talk show formats for panels: e.g. Sellin’ with Ellen (complete with blond wig.)
[52:20] Kristin’s gardener arrives!
[53:40] American Idol panel format.
[55:20] Oprah panel format.
[55:50] Control of panels; using Catchbox.
[56:20] Ground rules for the audience.
[59:10] What to say and do to get concise audience comments.
[1:00:00] A sad but informative story about a panelist who insisted on keeping talking.
[1:03:20] The Lone Ranger Fantasy.
[1:04:00] The moderator’s job, when done well, is pretty thankless.
[1:05:30] How you know if a panel is good. (Features mind meld between Kristin & Adrian!)
[1:06:10] The end of the fishbowl sandwich.
[1:07:40] Room set limitations caused by need to turn the room.
[1:10:00] Language: ground rules vs covenant; “Can we agree on a few things?”; standing to indicate agreement.
[1:13:00] You can’t please everyone.
[1:14:20] Kristin breaks into song!
[1:15:00] Non-obvious benefits obtained when you deal with an audience’s top issues.
[1:15:50] Why you should consider responding to unanswered attendee questions after the panel is over.
[1:16:40] The value (or lack of value) of evaluations.
[1:18:00] Following up on attendee commitments.
[1:20:00] Immediate evaluations don’t tell you anything about long term attendee change.
[1:21:10] “Panels are like a Wizard of Oz moment.”
[1:22:30] “Panels reframe the conversation in your head.”
[1:25:00] Kristin’s process that quickly captures her learning and future goals; her continuous improvement binder.
[1:26:40] Closing thoughts on the importance of panels, and goodbye.
Do you dread having to listen to one more boring panel? Have you been asked be a panel moderate or panelist, and wonder what to do? Do you want to learn how to make conference panels much, much better?
Then we’ve got a Blab for you!
After the success of our Ask Me Anything About Event Production Blab, I’m happy to announce we are running an Ask Me Anything About Conference Panels Blab this Thursday, 4 – 6 pm EDT on my weekly #Eventprofs Happy Hour (#ephh) with special guest Kristin Arnold.
Hailed by MeetingsNet as the “Panel Improvement Evangelist”, Kristin is on a crusade to make ALL panel discussions more lively and informative. She’s the author of Powerful Panels: A Step-By-Step Guide to Moderating a Lively and Informative Panel Discussion at Meetings, Conference and Conventions, and has been moderating panel discussions for over twenty years. Among her other talents, Kristin has presented to over half a million people around the world, and retired from the US Coast Guard Reserves in 2002 as a Lieutenant Commander! Learn more about Kristin here.
Kristin & I have more than a few opinions on conference panels. But we want yours too! Join the Blab at any time to ask questions, share your thoughts—and I might invite you to join us on the video stream. Expect a lively discussion and a lot of good information and ideas!
To be reminded when the Blab begins, go here and click Subscribe. The same URL will take you to the Blab once we’re live.
Never joined a Blab before? Here’s a good introductory Blab tutorial. Kristin & I look forward to your joining us on Thursday!
I’m happy to announce that my new book—The Power of Participation: Creating Conferences That Deliver Learning, Connection, Engagement, and Action—will be available for purchase in all formats and outlets on June 30. But you can save money by purchasing directly from me before July 1 at never-to-be-repeated prices.
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The following prices for The Power of Participation are only available before July 1. On that date, this page will vanish like a dream.
Thirty minutes free consulting will be provided for any first-time purchase directly from this site.
Shipping paperbacks to U.S. addresses is included in these prices. Shipping paperbacks to addresses outside the United States will incur an additional cost, viewable for single copies once you have added items to your cart.
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“Adrian wants to transform attendees into participants. And in this book, he shows you how to do it. As an organizer of professional conferences for the past decade, I wish I had come across Adrian’s books earlier in my life. It would have made me more confident and competent.”
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“Adrian Segar’s The Power of Participation is a catalog of tools for designing meetings. If you want to improve your meetings, keep a copy right there on your desk, always ready for instant access. Better yet, study the tools in his catalog so they’re right there in your brain, always ready to build first-class meetings that everyone loves.”
—Gerald M. Weinberg, The Consultants’ Consultant, author of over 40 books, including classics The Psychology of Computer Programming and An Introduction to General Systems Thinking
The Power of Participation: Creating Conferences That Deliver Learning, Connection, Engagement, and Action
Publisher: Segar Consulting
Release date: ebook: June 2015 | paper book: June 2015
Page count: 322
Size: 8½ x 11
List Price: $27.95 (Paperback book) | $13.95 (PDF ebook) | $33.95 (Paperback book and PDF ebook combo)
The ebook and paperback/ebook combo are available only directly from the author.