It’s painfully easy to wind up with a bad panelist on your discussion – someone long-winded, confusing, unresponsive, etc. – but extremely difficult to find someone willing to be a bad person. No matter how cynical and self-interested each of us can be in real life, in front of an audience almost everyone becomes a model of generosity, a true believer in the corporation’s mission statement, and/or a model of political correctness.
The problem is, it can sometimes be difficult to address the real challenges facing your audience if all you have is a panel full of saints.
How do you get panelists to admit to less-than-saintly behavior? Here’s what I recommend: Continue reading
Several times I’ve found myself working with some great organization, focused on a fascinating topic, that declares its goals for a particular event to be:
1. Create video that will explain to the masses the group’s topic, and why it matters; and
2. Provide content that will be riveting to the highly sophisticated, involved members that will make up most or all of the live audience.
The idea, of course, is to get the most bang for the buck: engage your members at a conference, while creating content that can be used to educate non-members in the future.
Yet the product of such thinking will not be a bang, but a fizzle. An event that insists on explaining a topic as if one knows nothing about it will bore a knowledgeable audience to tears. Even if one eventually gets to more sophisticated questions, the basic explanations have to come at the beginning — the most critical time for engagement.
Holding, and promoting, two completely different events — one for the general public and one for insiders — eliminates this problem, but at a great cost. So, what can be done to engage a sophisticated audience, while creating content that will work for neophytes?
Here are my suggestions: