• Cirieco Design - Graphic Design and Marketing Services
  • Buy the 11th edition of Know-it-all passport
  • Computer Problems? David can help
 Ashlee and Antonie show 2 ©Dennis Bouman\
@Dennis Bouman
By Claire Doole, www.doolecommunications.com
After the summer break, we are now back in the world of webinars, hybrid and in-person events. 
I am being asked to moderate panel discussions - sometimes four or five consecutively on the same day - each with far too many people to have a real discussion. And if they are discussions and not “panel presentations”, they are far too scripted, predictable, and tell the audience little if anything they didn’t already know. 
Audiences tell me that most panels are pointless. I would agree unless they are well-moderated, audience-centric, and have the right speakers for the subject. 
It was therefore a joy in June to see a wonderfully moderated panel discussion at the Better Cotton Conference in Amsterdam where I was the Master of Ceremonies. 
Hats off to Antonie Fountain from the Voice Network and Ashlee Tuttleman from the Sustainable Trade Initiative for leading a dynamic and innovative session on sustainable livelihoods. Here is what they did so well: 
  •  Antonie showed that you can take a serious subject and make it engaging. Through great use of simple visuals (slides for example with one word on them) plus video clips from Monty Python and Indiana Jones, he gave us a captivating keynote about the lessons learned from the cocoa industry in building more sustainable livelihoods. 

Into the audience for questions

@Dennis Bouman

  • He and Ashlee then kept up the pace and energy by running a 20-minute quiz on Mentimeter for the online and in-person audience in which they debunked five myths about sustainable livelihoods. They went into the audience and engaged with them about their answers.

Into the audience for questions

  • And then the “piece de resistance”. They asked the three winners of the quiz to come on stage for an impromptu panel discussion.
  • The panelists were great, proving that often the real knowledge lies with the audience! 
Into the audience for questions
@Dennis Bouman 
In fact, the 2-day conference was packed with variety and different formats to keep the audience engaged, and most importantly entertained.  As you can read here, they also elevated their event by engaging a graphic artist. 
Mentimeter quizes
@Dennis Bouman
If you are running an event or panel discussion, I would be delighted to advise on how to make it something that the audience will always remember. I can also train your teams to moderate and MC, in case you don’t want to employ a professional moderator!

Author's bio

clairedooleportrait 200Claire Doole is a former BBC correspondent and international spokeswoman who is passionate about helping people communicate with confidence. Since 2006, she has successfully trained hundreds of professionals in the art of presenting and public speaking, talking to the media, managing communications in a crisis, and writing for the web. In addition, she has coached C-level executives and public figures to give powerful TEDx and TED style talks in Europe and the Middle East. A Swiss and UK national, Claire trains and coaches in French and English.

Claire is also a highly experienced moderator having facilitated panel discussions with government ministers, NGO activists, humanitarians and human rights specialists at major events.

Claire helps clients design their virtual, hybrid and in-person events and runs workshops on organising and moderating at events.