Is the Moderated Panel Discussion Right for Your Webcast?
A moderated panel provides audience members with a controlled discussion by multiple speakers. Moderated panels can benefit both the presenters and the audience. Chiefly, panel discussions:
- Share the presenting load. A panel of experts takes the burden of carrying the entire presentation off of a single person. This can be a particularly appealing option for new or uncertain speakers.
- Help relay information efficiently. Often, the dialogue that springs from a panel can answer many of the questions your audience may have. Different people contributing to the discussion can help clarify confusing or complex points. Your audience will leave feeling well informed.
- Promote a sense of authority. Moderated panel discussions typically are perceived as being professional and composed of experts in their field. This sense of authority and expertise extends to your business as well.
- Give your audience the floor. Often, moderated panel discussions allow the audience to ask questions and make comments. This participation not only stimulates engagement but also can offer insights into what your target audience cares about, along with how well they understand what you’ve presented to them.
Not every topic is suited to a moderated panel discussion. Following are a few situations that lend themselves well to this format:
- When there’s more than one topic. In these cases, the moderator usually introduces the panel, sets up the topics, and guides the discussion, making sure that each topic cited is covered.
- When you want a balanced approach. When the discussion involves topics or issues that don’t have a clear-cut answer, multiple perspectives from the panelists help give the audience a well-balanced perspective.
- Question-and-answer sessions. Allowing panelists and audience participants to ask questions gives viewers a range of thoughts and opinions.
The Moderator and Planning Are Key
The moderator can make or break a panel discussion. It’s up to the moderator to maintain the flow and focus of the discussion, keep the panelists in check, and guide the interaction in a smart and engaging way. It’s a tall order that commands an experienced person.
Moderated panel discussions also require thoughtful planning. Getting all the panelists in sync can be challenging, and these discussions, by their very nature, can take off organically. To the extent possible, run through a few rehearsals.
Lastly, select informative and engaging panelists that will resonate well with your audience.