Death by deadly dull panel is one of the most boring ways to go. Whether you're a moderator or speaker, here's what can you do to avoid putting an entire hall to sleep.
Moderators, to a large degree, the success of a panel depends on your preparation. The precision and flow of your questions can make or break the arc of this session. Here's the inside word:
1. Invest time, thought and research into preparing smart questions.
2. Share the questions with the panelists in advance - and ask them if there is something they would like to be asked about.
3. Ensure your questions differentiate between the different spheres of expertise your panelists represent. "What do you all think about X" is not the way to go.
4. Take care of your panelists. Make sure they know you have their backs. Part of that can be protecting them from each other, especially in panels of contrasting viewpoints.
5. Listen well - draw value from a speaker's material in your transitions and in your summary.