BTHUNDER BAY – Business – In the largest survey ever conducted about panel discussions, 539 executives, thought leaders and meeting planners shared their frustrations about the panel format. “The Panel Report: A 2014 Snapshot on the Effectiveness of Panel Discussions at Meetings, Conferences and Conventions,” looks at the effectiveness of the format, the moderator and panelists – what drives the audience crazy – as well as recommendations to enhance the panel session.
Thunder Bay’s Maggie Chicoine was one of the people who contributed to this report.
Download the report at no charge at http://PowerfulPanels.com/report/.
Some of the key findings include:
- Panels are Pervasive. The panel format is widely used at meetings. 99% of respondents have seen a panel format during a meeting in the past 12 months.
- Panels are a Lazy Format. The panel format is considered to be a relatively easy format to produce: the meeting planner picks the topic, finds a moderator, selects the panelists and then moves on to more important aspects of the meeting. Unfortunately, the audience sees this lack of attention and doesn’t enter into the panel space with high hopes.
- Format Needs to be Updated. The traditional, boring panel format needs to be reinvigorated to engage and entertain today’s audiences.
- Skilled Facilitation is Key to Panel Success. There is a high degree of correlation between the effectiveness of the moderator and the effectiveness of the panel in achieving the outcomes. Having a skilled facilitator as the moderator is your best insurance policy to creating a successful panel session.
- Moderators Bring Out the Best in Panelists. The biggest “pet peeve” is having a poor moderator with out of control panelists following close behind. This makes perfect sense; when you have a skilled moderator, then the panelists will be less likely to get out of control. Yet when you have a lousy moderator, even brilliant panelists can get out of control or miss the mark.
“When you choose to have a panel format, be deliberate and intentional in your choices,” says QPC Inc. President, Kristin Arnold. “Choose an intriguing topic, pick a skilled moderator, select interesting and articulate panelists, create a lively format, and engage your audience early and often.”