The Best How-To Guide For Planning, Organizing, & Conducting A Panel Discussion In 2019


Riley Moore
CEO of RM4Tech & Co-Creator of CrowdQuestion

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.

About CrowdQuestion

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.

CrowdQuestion Provides:
The ability to answer questions from the people involved in what you are doing:

  1. Increases loyalty
  2. Creates opportunity to gain credibility
  3. Spreads better awareness of what you are doing
  4. Allows for the conversation to continue

Features include:

  1. Stay organized across multiple events for any occasion you are involved in and share them with your crowd of interest
  2. Events can be for one specific day or multiple days
  3. Events can be made private with a defined pin so only a select group can participate
  4. Include speakers or guests who can also be asked questions they can answer
  5. Each crowd participant can ask up to twenty questions per month for free and vote on five questions per event to rank them
  6. Ask questions on any web or mobile device in written or audio format
  7. 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
  8. Every question can be answered in text, marked as answered if answered in some other form such as verbally, or dismissed
  9. Receive analytics regarding your events and the participants involved with the ability to download in Excel format
  10. 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.

Find out how 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 and engage with their Crowd, saving you time compared to the pain of doing it through social media. Find out how CrowdQuestion will enhance the experience and quality of engagement surrounding your occasion.






Riley Moore (https://www.linkedin.com/in/rileyrm4tech)
Riley Moore, the 24-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. RM4Tech has also just released CrowdQuestion, Q& A The Right Way. 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.