New Survey Reports 63% of Panel Discussions are Mediocre or Much Worse

The 2014 Panel Report offers the most up-to-date information available on the effectiveness of panel discussions at meetings, conferences and conventions, including the 10 most common mistakes moderators and panelists make.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., March 18, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- In the largest survey ever conducted about panel discussions, 539 executives, thought leaders and meeting planners shared their frustrations about the panel format.  "The Panel Report: A 2014 Snapshot on the Effectiveness of Panel Discussions at Meetings, Conferences and Conventions," looks at the effectiveness of the format, the moderator and panelists – what drives the audience crazy - as well as recommendations to enhance the panel session.


Download the report at no charge at

Some of the key findings include:

  • Panels are Pervasive.  The panel format is widely used at meetings.  99% of respondents have seen a panel format during a meeting in the past 12 months. 
  • Panels are a Lazy Format.  The panel format is considered to be a relatively easy format to produce: the meeting planner picks the topic, finds a moderator, selects the panelists and then moves on to more important aspects of the meeting.  Unfortunately, the audience sees this lack of attention and doesn't enter into the panel space with high hopes.
  •  Format Needs to be Updated.  The traditional, boring panel format needs to be reinvigorated to engage and entertain today's audiences. 
  • Skilled Facilitation is Key to Panel Success.  There is a high degree of correlation between the effectiveness of the moderator and the effectiveness of the panel in achieving the outcomes.  Having a skilled facilitator as the moderator is your best insurance policy to creating a successful panel session. 
  • Moderators Bring Out the Best in Panelists.  The biggest "pet peeve" is having a poor moderator with out of control panelists following close behind.  This makes perfect sense; when you have a skilled moderator, then the panelists will be less likely to get out of control.  Yet when you have a lousy moderator, even brilliant panelists can get out of control or miss the mark. 

"When you choose to have a panel format, be deliberate and intentional in your choices," says QPC Inc. President, Kristin Arnold.  "Choose an intriguing topic, pick a skilled moderator, select interesting and articulate panelists, create a lively format, and engage your audience early and often."

Watch the video of these findings first presented at the FRESH14 Conference in Copenhagen or view the slideshow presentation.

Connect with Kristin Arnold on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook.

KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CMC, CPF, CSP is President of Quality Process Consultants, Inc. specializing in high stakes meeting facilitation, high performance teams and professional panel moderation.  She's been facilitating teams of executives and managers in making better decisions and achieving greater results for over 20 years.  She is the author of the award-winning book, Boring to Bravo: Proven Presentation Techniques to Engage, Involve and Inspire Audiences to Action and Powerful Panels: A Step-by-Step Guide to Moderating Panels at Meetings, Conferences and Conventions.  Kristin is also the past president of the US National Speakers Association and on the Executive Development Faculty in the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto.

Kristin lives in Scottsdale, AZ and Prince Edward Island, Canada.

Media Contact: Kristin Arnold, QPC Inc., 480.502.2100,

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