The Best How-To Guide For Planning, Organizing, & Conducting A Panel Discussion In 2019
July 16th 2019
Panel discussions are the highlight of many events, conferences, conventions, and more. From Comic-Con
to Oprah’s When They See Us Now, those hosting the panel as well as those engaging through asking
questions find incredible value. With the prevalent success that has come from holding panel discussions,
there are plenty of aspects to be aware of. These include planning, organizing, and conducting the panel
discussion. Here is a guide that lays out how to plan, organize, and conduct a panel discussion.
Structuring The Panel
Before organizing or planning a panel discussion, it is important to determine the format and style
of how you want to go about it. Panel discussions are largely thirty or sixty minutes in length.
Regardless, each panel typically includes most or all of these seven elements. The first element
is a welcome period, introducing the panel as a whole. The second element is panelist introductions.
The third element is panelist presentations and initial comments. The fourth element is questions
that are curated by a moderator direct to the panelists. The fifth element is questions from the
audience that are directed to the panelists in some way. Sixth is a summary of what was discussed.
Lastly, the seventh element is thanking those who participated and any other closing remarks.
While no format is perfect and should be tailored specifically to your occasion, these elements
provide an outline for a quality panel event.
Organizing & Planning A Panel
Now that you understand how to structure the panel, it is time to plan. The first consideration
when planning your panel is the objectives. The panel should have a focus as well as intended
value it provides everyone involved. Laying out objectives for what you want those involved in
all aspects to get out of the panel will assist in creating the basis of the panel plan.
Along with determining objectives for the panel discussion, time should be spent considering the
atmosphere of the panel. Do you want it to be extremely formal, or more relaxed? What are those
attending and participating as panelists expecting? What type of space should be utilized to convey
the proper message?
Before time is taken to determine and invite panelists, it is important to have a time and place
scheduled. Panelists will be more hesitant to participate if they do not have a clear understanding
of if they will be available to participate. Understanding the objectives and vibe of the panel
you are looking to accomplish, the proper environment should be clear. One additional consideration
should be if there are funds to rent space or are looking for venues that are free of charge.
From here, there should be time taken to find the best possible venues for your panel event.
Create a shortlist of potential locations and then reach out to them.
It is now time to determine the panelists you want. First, you should decide how many panelists
you are looking to have. From there, figuring out the ideal aspects of the most valuable panelists
for the discussion is a must. It is also important to be aware of diversity. At this point, it is
a pretty agreed upon stance that having a diverse panel from perspectives of race, gender, background,
experience, and more is necessary. Figuring out, putting together, and prioritizing a shortlist of
panelists is the first step. Then from there, you should invite panelists in prioritized stages
until you compile a quality panel.
The next aspect of planning the panel that should be considered is the moderator. Having someone
who facilitates the panel properly is a vital part of the panel experience. The moderator guides the
panel event, ensuring the discussion goes smoothly and how it was intended. With this being said, it
is crucial to have a moderator who is an ideal fit that is experienced in the role. Depending on the
panel someone tied to the organization or the community would be a good choice, other times it may be
ideal to reach out or hire a moderator who has the skill to provide value to the event.
The last considerations when planning a panel discussion surrounds technology, equipment,
and additional necessities. Time should be taken to determine what technology and equipment
such as microphones, clickers, laptops, timers, cameras, apps like CrowdQuestion, and more
needed to conduct the best quality panel discussion as possible. Additional considerations
surround food and beverages, volunteers and helping hands needed, sponsorship opportunities,
branded giveaways, name tags, and more.
Panel Preparation & Promotion
Now that a plan is in place, it is time to prepare and promote the panel to create the best possible
experience. When preparing for the panel it largely surrounds following through on everything planned
to ensure every different aspect of the panel is ready to go. This includes keeping in touch with
panelists, creating an event page for those interested to RSVP and purchase tickets, purchase food
and beverages, and more.
Promoting the event is vital to creating awareness that drives quality attendance. The best promoting
techniques will vary depending on the panel discussion, but there are some clear best practices.
These best practices include email, social media, blogs, press releases, and more. Promotion should
begin at least one month prior and regularly done.
Conducting The Panel
Once the panel begins, like any event, one or more people must stay on top of all aspects of the
event to ensure it is conducted successfully. Arriving early to set up as well as handle any
possible issues is vital. Keeping track of starting on time and how much time is spent on each
aspect of the event must be done. When using CrowdQuestion to enhance the interactive nature of
the panel discussion, it is important to ensure everyone is downloading and joining CrowdQuestion
with ease. Once the event comes to an end, do not forget to thank everyone involved and show your
appreciation. Along with that, make sure to collect any valuable feedback to improve the panel
experience in the future.
The panel event you envision on bringing to life can now be completed with success.
Following this how-to guide will provide a guaranteed base towards a successful event for
everyone involved. Successful panel discussions provide immense value. Value is provided
to those attending, those participating as panelists, and those putting on the event.
Understanding this value and having passion for the form of discussion, we created CrowdQuestion
to enhance any panel event. To find out how read more below.
CrowdQuestion connects Crowds through Q&A The Right Way to bring everyone closer to their community.
CrowdQuestion allows Hosts to create Channels where they hold Events to Answer Questions & engage with
the Crowd, saving time compared to the pain of doing it through social media. With social media and
other current methods hosts engage with their crowds, answering questions in an organized manner can
be difficult, sometimes impossible.
The ability to answer questions from the people involved in what you are doing:
Creates opportunity to gain credibility
Spreads better awareness of what you are doing
Allows for the conversation to continue
Stay organized across multiple events for any occasion you are involved in
and share them with your crowd of interest
Events can be for one specific day or multiple days
Events can be made private with a defined pin so only a select group can participate
Include speakers or guests who can also be asked questions they can answer
Each crowd participant can ask up to twenty questions per month for free and
vote on five questions per event to rank them
Ask questions on any web or mobile device in written or audio format
Questions are displayed in an ordered list from highest to lowest rank to assist
in showing you what your crowd has the most curiosity about, saving time
Every question can be answered in text, marked as answered if answered in
some other form such as verbally, or dismissed
Receive analytics regarding your events and the participants involved with the
ability to download in Excel format
Increase your mailing list and reach out to those who are interested in what you are doing
"Being able to ask questions, rank questions, and have the questions answered is the most impactful
form of engagement. The engagement between the host and those following the host is at the forefront
of CrowdQuestion’s design. Connections are built, and concepts are learned. We cannot wait to see the
impact made through Q&A The Right Way." - CEO Riley Moore of RM4Tech & Co-Creator of CrowdQuestion.
Riley Moore (https://www.linkedin.com/in/rileyrm4tech)
Riley Moore, the 25-year old CEO at RM4Tech, the one and only completely family-owned family-run
software company, has used his mix of technical and business influences to bring his creative vision
to life. With the development of RM4Tech’s first solution, DirectSuggest 'The Suggestion Box Reimagined'
, he has become a fresh face in the world of engagement and innovation. Their second solution
CrowdQuestion was released in early 2019. CrowdQuestion is focused on connecting crowds through
'Q&A The Right Way' to bring everyone closer to their community. His passion to empower individuals
to use their creativity and voice to make a difference in the world is what drives him.
Riley's love for podcasting, mixed with his unrelenting drive to inspire individuals to change
the world through passion and hard-work, encouraged the creation of The Moore You Know
Podcast. He hopes to impact the world through entrepreneurship and podcasting like those
who inspired him.