Business travellers are away from their home bases often and getting work done while on the road can prove challenging. This segment, coupled with the growing freelancer and entrepreneur workforce, has given rise to a new kind of office, with club membership. Jenny Southan investigates this phenomenon.
This has become a common element in many modern-day conferences, but so many event organisers get it wrong. Here, American psychologist and author, Adam Grant, provides some tips on how to get it right:
1. Keep it small – the best panels have a moderator and no more than two or three guests. Larger panels create more communication and co-ordination difficulties.
2. Invite people who complement each other – you need a mix of similarities and differences. Every panellist should fit into a common topic but stand out based on having unique insights or experiences.
3. Design for relationships between the panellists invite people who actually know each other. They’re used to having conversations together, they’re familiar with each other’s views, and they’re more likely to be comfortable debating and disagreeing respectfully.
4. Encourage the panellists to talk to each other –a rookie mistake is when panellists are all having individual conversations with the moderator. 5. Ask them to keep their comments short – the most compelling responses are usually no more than 60 seconds.
6. Don’t let every panellist answer every question – that immediately devolves into mind-numbing turn-taking.
7. Tell them you might interrupt them – the moderator’s job is to guide the conversation to make it worthwhile for the audience.
8. Start by asking for a story – panels fall flat when participants never get to share their knowledge – and the audience has no context for why they’re there.
9. Pose questions that make the audience—and the panellists—think - the richest questions often start with why (to get at motivation/purpose) and how (to get at strategy/tactics).
10. Run a lightning round – come ready with a few questions that panellists can answer in a word or a sentence. It can be a fun appetizer early on, or a strong closing.