Tips for Moderating a Panel

By Stella Galli

This Monday I moderated the PRSSA Beauty PR panel on Zoom, and it was an amazing experience that taught me the value of good preparation. We had five incredible panelists who all were established in the beauty industry, and I am grateful that they were able to teach the PRSSA members as well as myself the ins and outs of the industry. 

As a moderator, you have the responsibility of guiding the conversation, ensuring everyone has an equal opportunity to speak and staying on track with the intended topic. It requires a level of preparation and professionalism to make it successful. 

Here are some of my tips for having a successful panel:

DO: Educate Yourself

The most important thing you can do as a moderator is to educate yourself on the industry or topic you are moderating. This ensures that you have a deep understanding of the subject matter and can guide the conversation appropriately. It is essential to research the panelists and their backgrounds, as well as any relevant trends, news, or industry developments.

For instance, when I was preparing to moderate the beauty panel, I was sure to stay on top of all of the relevant beauty influencers and read up on  PR Week to stay informed about the latest trends and innovations in the beauty industry from a PR perspective. 

DO: Practice Active Listening

Active listening is critical when moderating a panel. Pay attention to the panelists’ responses, ask follow-up questions, and engage in the conversation. When panelists feel heard and valued, they will be more likely to share their insights and expertise.

DO: Prepare Questions Ahead of Time

Preparing questions ahead of time is a crucial step in moderating a panel successfully. It allows you to steer the conversation in a particular direction, ensuring that the panel stays on track and covers all of the essential topics. By preparing questions, you can also help the panelists feel more comfortable and confident in their responses. Be sure to prepare open-ended questions that encourage discussion and allow the panelists to share their unique insights and experiences. That means, make sure no question is a simple yes or no answer, but a more in-depth response.

In conclusion, moderating a panel can be a challenging but rewarding experience. By following these three simple tips, you can help ensure a successful panel that engages the audience, educates them on the topic, and provides valuable insights from the panelists. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to moderate the beauty PR panel with five fabulous panelists who made it run seamlessly. 

I hope that you all enjoyed the panel, and gained valuable insights into the beauty industry and PR!


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