Social Media Roundup: Conduct Your Panel Discussion Like a Maestro

What you should and shouldn’t do while moderating a panel discussion. Also: Choose speakers wisely to give event promotion a boost.

Orchestra conductors control the flow of the performance. They’ve hired musicians who can work together to bring musical masterpieces to life on stage, and they know exactly when to step in and move the music along to its magical end.

Panel moderators are like orchestra conductors in that they’ve called upon some of the most talented voices of an industry to have a conversation on a given topic. They choose the panelists and move the conversation forward until the discussion’s conclusion.

Some best practices for moderating a panel, and more, in today’s Social Media Roundup:

Your Panel is Your Orchestra

If you’re moderating a panel, you can’t be a puppet master. Scott Kirsner, cofounder of and a frequent speaker, says moderators set the stage and the dynamic for panel discussions, but they shouldn’t write the script for the panelists—they should be ready to give the audience a performance. “If you attend enough panel discussions, you already know that the worst ones feel like a plodding public-access TV show—and you can’t switch the channel. The best feel like a fast-paced, unpredictable conversation between smart people on stage and smart people in the audience,” he writes on HBR. Kirsner offers a list of 12 guidelines for moderating a panel discussion. (h/t @speakerideas)

Look Who’s Talking

Speakers are invaluable to your conferences. They bring the knowledge your members are longing to hear. But beyond that, choosing the right speaker can prove significant for promoting your event and reaching just the right audience. “It is about first considering who will attend, what do they need from your meeting, why you will help them when they attend, and where are they looking for information,” writes Tahira Endean, director of creative and production at Cantrav Services. She recommends you get speakers involved with the audience before, during, and after the event via the most engaging platform for your attendees, whether it’s blogging or social media. (h/t @heidithorne)

What fun reads have you been sharing today? Share them with us in the comments.

(James Jordan/Flickr)

Anita Ferrer

By Anita Ferrer

Anita Ferrer is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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