Courtesy of Pamela Thompson, Recruiter/Career Coach, Ideas to Go
The moderator's goal is to provide different views from informed
steer the discussion to a conclusion, and to present a summary of the
These tips will help you have a more productive and successful exchange
ideas and opinions on every panel you are involved with.
Remember, the purpose of the conference is to provide guidance, help, and
advice to people interested in computer graphics and interactive techniques. Please do not
use the SIGGRAPH conference as a forum to promote your company.
You are an "idea traffic cop." Your job is to keep things moving, and to
the experience fruitful, productive, and punctual. To achieve these
objectives, make sure the session goes and flows. That means:
1 BEFORE THE SESSION STARTS briefly "huddle" with your panel. Review
with them how you will conduct the session.
2 Verify that:
3 Have a watch and use it. At the start of the session, announce how
time each speaker will have for remarks, how much time will be allowed
discussion, how long the question-and-answer period will be, and how long
summary report will be.
- Speakers are "miked."
- Water and glasses are available for all panelists.
- Name cards are in place for all speakers and the moderator
Allow time at the end of your session for a summary report. Use your
and make notes on a pad to track the elapsed time of the session so the
schedule is adhered to. Use your pad to take notes for the summary
4 START and END your session on time. There are other panels scheduled
5 If the room is standing-room-only, identify empty seats and ask
members to move to them. Encourage people to move up front, take places
the sides of the room, or even sit on the floor at the apron of the
Also, some seated audience members may use more than one
themselves and their stuff. If they do, request that they make a place for
Conversely, if the audience is sparse, invite people to move down front
fill in empty seats.
6 If there are "housekeeping" announcements to be made (such as a
program, the composition of the panel, or other necessary
these announcements early.
7 Introduce yourself by giving your name and company affiliation, the
the speakers by name, and their titles and affiliations.
8 Use humor if appropriate, but don't force it.
9 Make sure all speakers get a chance to contribute. If you are
out of time, you can cut the Q&A time in half, or cancel the summary.
You MUST give all speakers an opportunity to
participate in the session.
10 Allow up to 10 minutes for questions and answers at the end of the
presentation. This period can be enormously rewarding to the
11 IMPORTANT: When it's time for questions from the floor, there are a
number of key points to observe:
12 It is a moderator's responsibility to present a summary of the panel. It
your job to absorb and organize the views expressed during the panel
discussion and Q&A, and summarize the panel at the END of the session.
3-4 minutes at the end of the session for your summary. Make sure
include only ideas and views expressed during the session.
- Make sure the questions are questions.
- Repeat each question, to make sure that you and the panelists understand it, and that everyone in the room can hear it.
- Questions redirected "to anyone on the panel" should be redirected to ONE panelist who is most qualified to respond.
- Ask questioners who consume too much time to take up their points with individual panelists
after the conclusion of the session.
- Ask any members of the audience who begin their own discussion to pose
question to ONE of the panelists and advise them that when they are
WILL recognize them, one after the other.
1 Don't repeat material that has already been made available to the audience
Brief biographies of the moderator and speaker are printed in the Program & Buyer's Guide, which all attendees receive, so it's a waste of time to repeat the information.
2 Don't allow an audience member to "make a speech." Interrupt, and ask the speaker to succinctly pose a question. Only accept QUESTIONS from the audience.
3 Don't allow your speakers to speak to each other across the panel's front.
Remind them that all their remarks AND answers to questions should be
to the audience.
4 Don't allow one speaker to "hog" the session. Ask the speaker to make ONE
and move on. The purpose of a panel is to afford opportunities for varying, and opposing, views. That means different viewpoints
be afforded an airing and that ALL Speakers should have a chance to speak
Prepare. All your years of business and personal experience must boil
a few minutes of presentation. Therefore, in order to appear your best,
contribute most to the discussion, you MUST take time, BEFORE THE EVENT,
organize your thoughts and to outline (if only mentally) what you will
This is not a time to wing it. Organize your thoughts in advance, on a
sheet, if necessary. Make a series of "bullet points" you want to
Keep in mind that no matter how many (or few) other speakers there are,
obligation to yourself, your company, and the audience, is to deliver a
persuasive distillation of your point of view on the subject.
Being a panelist is a tough assignment, which you can make a lot
easier and far more productive for the audience if you remember these few
1 Introduce yourself. The first time you have the floor say, "Hello,
name is Kearney Thompson and I am with the University of Southern North Dakota.
2 LISTEN to statements of the other Speakers. (You may
want to agree or DISAGREE with what they said, and absorbing
points of view will enable you to incorporate them your response to a
question from the floor.)
You may even want to take notes of what other speakers say, because
these, or refuting them, will make your statements more interesting and
3 Keep in mind the timetable that the moderator laid out at the
of the session. Do your best to stick to it. Follow the lead of the
moderator. Be a team player and help by playing under the rules the moderator established.
4 Leave your ego behind. You're not auditioning or interviewing for a
You are on the panel to contribute your views and opinions on the
subject. Do it objectively, and you will more than "earn your
5 Treat your fellow speakers, the moderator, and the audience with
Your audience hopes and expects to learn and profit from your experience
6 If everything you planned to say has already been said, don't waste
everyone's time by repeating it. Instead ask the moderator to pose
1 No matter what your relationship may be with other speakers (bosom
or sworn enemies), keep personal elements out of the discourse. The point
to present and exchange views and for the panel to strive to reach some
of consensus on the topic.
2 If you disagree with a statement of another speaker do NOT confront the speaker directly, "across the panel." Instead, wait for your turn in the summary at the
of the panel's presentation. (The same applies to replying to a question
the floor. Direct your response to the questioner, NOT to another panelist.)
up and into the microphone. Do not engage in cross-panel talk. You are
to inform the audience.
3 DO NOT introduce partisan opinions. For example, do not try to "sell" your or your
company's position. This can introduce bias into the discussion, and it can
perceived as making a business pitch.
4 DO NOT make remarks about fellow speaker(s).
5 Don't be a "session hog." If another speaker refuses to yield the
it is up to the moderator to move things along.