This is the third of an intermittent series of 15 tips for successfully moderating a panel discussion.
Speak loudly enough to fill the room with your voice.
A full, animated voice energizes the room and keeps your audience alert and engaged. Ask your panelists to do the same by matching your volume when commenting on your questions.
This does not mean speaking more loudly than natural. Instead, tell the person in charge of the sound system to amplify to the point where your voice commands the room. And instruct the sound person to do the same for the panelists to the degree that their volume matches yours.
A timid or lackluster voice will set the wrong tone. A commanding, passionate voice wins the day.
Previously published tips for successfully moderating panel discussions:
Writing is a skill most professionals use often. For many of us, writing is essential to what we do, a core activity that either distinguishes or diminishes us in the eyes of supervisors, peers, clients and other constituents. Yet, very few of us are truly good writers, producing copy with a clarity and incisiveness that puts the quality of our thinking on full display — and advances our career. Why are so few of us genuinely good writers? Because really good writing calls for two skills that usually do NOT co-exist. They are… (click on the headline to continue reading)
Throw some “jump balls” while questioning panelists. You don’t have to be a basketball fan to understand the jump ball concept in a panel discussion context. It works like this: Rather than direct every question to a specific panelist, it is often best to pose a question and let the person most anxious and prepared to grab the question and comment on it. The problem with always directing questions at specific panelists is that we set a tone that says… (click on the headline to continue reading)
Who has not had the displeasure of striking up a conversation with a person who won’t shut their yapper? It’s a crass reality of life that many of us are more concerned with expressing our full quotient of words, rather than communicating only what the recipient wants to hear or needs to know. Consider how unhappy those motor-mouths make us, then consider how the long-winded public speaking is really doing the same thing to his or her audience members. That’s why Robert Greenleaf’s well-known statement on the subject is so poignant. Greeleaf said… (click on the headline to continue reading)
Talk to the audience, not just the panelists. Far too often panel moderators behave as though they are alone in the room with the panelists, sans audience. When we do this, the audience feels forgotten and there is no connection between us and our audience. Give the audience some eye contact. Speak to them. There is a tendency among moderators to sit or stand and stare unflinchingly at the panelist being questioned or answer the query. This causes a disconnection between moderator and audience members. It’s also a missed opportunity. When we look to the audience we… (click on the headline to continue reading.)