15 tips for successfully moderating panel discussions

February 20, 2018 | Presentations, Verbal communication

Panel discussions are a major opportunity to explore important subjects, educate audiences, engage leaders, and to distinguish ourselves — provided we take the steps required to ensure a lively and successful panel discussion. Unfortunately, few panel discussions live up to their promise, and this is most often attributable to a weak performance by the panel moderator.
Keep in mind that panels are more complicated than solo presentations because there are so many moving pieces, as you have multiple panelists to select, prepare and guide through the process. The moderator must control the discussion’s balance and pacing, and to guard against panelists who get long winded or off subject. Then there is the audience, particularly if audience interaction is permitted, which is usually a good idea.
The good news is that almost anyone can succeed as a panel moderator if they take into account and act on the following 15 considerations when preparing for and conducting a panel discussion.

  1. Tip number one: Talk to the audience, not just the panelists, click here.
  2. Tip number two: Throw some “jump balls” while questioning panelists, click here.
  3. Tip number three: Speak loudly enough to fill the room with your voice, click here.
  4. Tip number four: Introduce your panelists with flourish, click here.
  5. Tip number five: Keep the microphone in front of your mouth when speaking — including while swiveling your head to make eye contact with audience members. click here.
  6. Tip number six: Use occasional examples and anecdotes when asking questions, click here.
  7. Tip number seven: Ask follow-up questions, click here.
  8. Tip number eight: Take an opportunity to build on your panelists’ answers by offering your own observations or examples, click here.
  9. Tip number nine: Look for opportunities to involve the audience, click here.
  10. Tip number 10: When appropriate, take hand-held microphone into the audience and turn the discussion into a talk-show format with audience involvement from start to finish, click here.
  11. Tip number 11: Gently challenge panelists when their answers are of questionable accuracy or candor, click here.
  12. Tip number 12: Take command of the lectern, click here.
  13. Tip number 13: Liven-up your language by punctuating or emphasizing certain words and phrases, click here.
  14. Tip number 14: Incorporate some physical movement to your stagecraft, click here.
  15. Tip number 15: Encourage panelist to jump into the discussion without being questioned or prompted, click here.

  16. Mike Consol teaches public speaking, PowerPoint presentation skills and business writing to companies and business professionals in the Oakland-San Francisco-San Jose Bay Area. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 925-449-1040.


    Learn more from your experiences by keeping a journal

    February 13, 2018 | Writing

    The French philosopher Blaise Pascal pointed out that “All of humanity’s problems come from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” He didn’t mean sitting quietly in front of a laptop responding to emails. The best thinking comes from structured reflection — and the best way to do that is keeping a personal journal. Dan Ciampa, author of a recent online article for the Harvard Business Review notes that he started keeping a journal when he took over a manufacturing research, software and consulting firm. He was very young, his team was in crisis facing a challenging market, and he wasn’t sure who he could rely on. So he kept a journal through 12 years as chairman and CEO and have since recommended it to people moving into any senior position for the first time. Whether you’re a senior executive or not, there is strong evidence that replaying events in our brain is essential to learning. While the brain records and holds what takes place in the moment, the learning from what one has gone through — that is, determining what is important and what lessons should be learned — happens after the fact during periods of quiet reflection. This where keeping a journal … (click on the headline to continue reading)

    11 tips for confident public speaking

    February 06, 2018 | Presentations, Verbal communication

    Being confident while delivering a presentation is an ability that many of us would desire, but too often our nerves get in the way. While some people are truly born with confidence, it is definitely something that the rest of us can learn, writes Bill Rosenthal, CEO of Communispond. The best public speakers know how important confidence is for a successful presentation, and that it is as much about how you appear to your audience as it is about feeling it. Remember these 11 helpful tips — having to do with rehearing, pacing, body language, posture, hydration and eye contact, among other practices — for sounding and appearing confident during your next presentation to be successful. (Click the headline to real the full article.)

    6 steps for writers to improve their creativity and productivity

    January 31, 2018 | Writing

    Cathy Pickens, author of the Southern Fried Mysteries, spent 30 years teaching graduate students at Queens University’s McColl School of Business, where she was a tenured professor with an endowed ch¬¬air. (There, students knew her not by her pen name but her real name, Cathy Anderson.) Pickens recognized that many of her pupils had creative interests, “but as business students, they hadn’t been encouraged to develop or use their creative side.” Since Pickens is a “doer” — a get-it-done type of person — she decided to develop an elective class on creativity. It was an enormous hit from the beginning. Pickens went on to conduct creativity workshops with Fortune 500 CEOs, dancers, painters, and more. And, of course, she’s taught many writers. Since leaving Queens University in 2016, Pickens has been concentrating on her creative consulting and working on a book about how to develop the creative process. In an article that features her in The Writer magazine, she provides some tips for increasing a writer’s creativity and productivity ... (click on the headline to continue reading)

    The 7 pillars of self-aware public speaking

    January 24, 2018 | Presentations, Verbal communication

    We are all on the ultimate search to get to know ourselves. Along the way, we have resources to help up identity qualities and personality traits that match our unique self, writes Stephanie Fulton on the Ethos 3/Empowering Presenters website. Personality tests such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Predictive Index can help people gather a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. Presenters should be more self-aware since they spend their days in front of others, Fulton says. While many people may think they understand self-awareness, one writer discovered the contrary. Organizational psychologist Tasha Eurich wrote the best-selling book Insight: Why We’re not as Self-Aware as We Think, and How Seeing Ourselves Clearly Helps Us Succeed at Work and in Life. In an interview she says, “One of the things that I learned in the four years of researching self-awareness is that almost no one is as self-aware as they think they are. Part of it is that we have blind spots and live in a society that’s making us less and less self-aware.” Eurich, principal of The Eurich Group, identifies seven pillars that self-aware people possess. In an article published on Ethos 3, Fulton details Eurich’s seven pillars and how to apply them to public speaking career. (Click the headline to continue reading.)

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