That’s About Right

From The New Yorker:

Want to do something about it?  Try this.

The Commandments of Moderating, Part 5: Paint Pictures

The first two commandments of moderating are here, the third here, and the fourth here.   I started out without much concern on the order of these pieces of advice, but the list seems to be developing a structure: The first two commandments are the most basic.  They’ve been followed by three on formulating questions. After that, we’ll have a couple on preparation and directing traffic, followed by the most important commandment of all.  Now for the last piece of advice on questions: Continue reading

The Commandments of Moderating, Part 4: Conversations

The first two commandments of moderating are here, and the third here.  Next up:

4. Create Conversations — As I have ranted about before, far too often the label “panel discussion” is a misnomer: The event instead is a set of presentations followed by a series of questions from the moderator to each panelist.   The good news is, this creates a great opportunity for you:  If you can actually get panelists talking to each other — to actually have a discussion at your “panel discussion” — both panelists and audience will be very pleasantly surprised.  You’ll see smiles and greater engagement all around.  Here are several ways to make it happen: Continue reading

Florida: Choose the Future

Live in Florida? Then you need to watch Florida: Choosing the Future, premiering on Florida PBS stations tonight.  (See the whole broadcast schedule here.)  I wrote and produced this show for three awesome organizations: the Fred Friendly Seminars, the Florida Humanities Council, and the Askew Institute.  The assignment was daunting: Produce an intelligent and engaging discussion on the choices the state faces for its economic future.  But thanks to a great moderator and amazing participants, we did it — creating a program where people across the political spectrum talk honestly about what has to happen to bring great jobs and economic prosperity to your state, your county, your neighborhood.  And they have fun doing it.  Really. Continue reading

The Commandments of Moderating, Part 3: Hard Questions

Following up on the first two commandments of moderating, here is the third:

3. Ask Hard Questions that Get Answered — You have probably seen certain investigative news shows, or dramas about courtroom lawyers, in which the crusading attorney or journalist hurls accusatory questions, and is rewarded with the object of the questioning either running from the cameras or confessing to guilt on the witness stand.  Those kinds of questions are great for creating tension and making the questioner look strong.  What they’re terrible for is getting answers.

I love hard questions; a panel  discussion isn’t worth having without them.  But I like having them answered, and that’s a lot more likely to happen if you don’t make answering the question equivalent to losing a battle of wills with the moderator.  Here are some techniques for asking hard questions that get answered: Continue reading

The Commandments of Moderating a Panel, Parts 1 – 2: The Basic Basics

Not long ago I posted my top five  Don’ts when creating a panel discussion.  It was intended for anyone putting together a panel event.  Now let’s focus in on moderating.  Here, the first two of the Ten Commandments of Moderating.  These are the most basic of basics (but even so, you’ve probably suffered through more than one panel that broke these rules): Continue reading

Coach Vermeil’s Secret to Leadership

Yesterday I had the privilege of hearing Coach Dick Vermeil (nominated just two days ago to the Pro Football Hall of Fame) speak on leadership at a wonderful NHS Foundation event in Philadelphia.  I want to share one of his great observations.   It could be be the key to meaningful employee development at your organization: Continue reading