by Ron Nehring
We’ve all been forced to sit through them, like high school detention with a speaker: a poorly run panel discussion at a meeting, training or conference. Like everything else in life, there are many wrong ways, and a few right ways, to build a successful panel discussion that holds audience attention and actually contributes to accomplishing the event’s goals.
A panel discussion is an opportunity to bring together several different speakers on a common topic and provide the audience with the benefit of the interaction between the speakers. When Walt Mossberg brought together Bill Gates and Steve Jobs for a two-person “panel” at a 2007 conference, audience attention was driven by the interaction between the two technology leaders. Six years later, more the video of the event has been viewed more than 6 million times.
There are at least four keys to a successful panel discussion.