Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Does fixing panels mean getting rid of moderators?

When faced with the prospect of boring panels, one after the other, at conferences, what should the organizers do? How to fix panels at SXSW (and everywhere else), which first appeared in 2014, minced no words when it came to the answer:
I can walk out on the shortest of limbs to declare that: chances are, [the panels] will be boring. And the reason they will be boring is because they will be rote. And the reason they will be rote, is because of the moderator. 
In panel discussions, the moderator too often provides a structured crutch on which the entire group can lean its boringness. To save us from boring panel discussions, first banish all the moderators.
Naturally, I disagree. The boring and rote parts of panels can be avoided with smart choices of panelists, a creative line of questioning, banishing slides in favor of discussion, and lots of time for audience questions...if you, as the moderator, will only choose that more difficult yet rewarding path. Read the article, however, and if you can see your last panel in it, take the time to change your approaches...now.

(Photo by US Mission Geneva)

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