Moderating a panel discussion sounds easy. Introduce the topic, throw in a few jokes and hope for meaningful dialogue. But an effective moderator remembers PANEL:
• Prepare a story. The moderator sets the stage. A hook increases audience engagement.
• Always prep panelists. Make sure they understand the audience.
• Never forget the goal and purpose. Informing listeners? Feedback on a public project? Showcasing an organization’s expertise?
• Energize the room. Avoid physical barriers like tables. Sitting on stools or standing feels more energetic.
• Listen and adjust. Don’t let anyone dominate. Keep the conversation on track and on target.