15 Tips to Becoming a Rock Star Panel Moderator

Many communicators are asked to either speak on a panel or moderate a panel. Perhaps you’ve already been in this situation and wondered how you can improve? If not, you’ll likely be participating in a panel at some point in the future.

The problem is that we all know most panels are boring and stale. It is often difficult to watch, except when there’s a skilled moderator involved. But how do you become an adept panel moderator?

Here’s 15 tips that will help…

Jeff Hurt (from Velvet Chainsaw Consulting) put together an 12 minute YouTube video with very specific guidelines.

You’ll want to watch what he’s outlined.

The 15 Tips

  1. Don’t over prepare the panel.
  2. Use the “BIP” format (this one’s huge!).
  3. Focus on the audience.
  4. Sit with the panelists.
  5. Connect with the audience often and early.
  6. Start with 15-30 sec intros (plus one bonus tip).
  7. Tell the audience what’s in it for them.
  8. Set the tone with 3 questions panelists will discuss.
  9. Involve the audience in first 5 minutes.
  10. Ask first question, giving each panelist 2 min to respond.
  11. Then ask audience to discuss reactions with nearby peers.
  12. Then ask audience if they have questions for panelists.
  13. Repeat the process.
  14. 10 min before end, there are a few specific do’s and don’ts (watch video).
  15. 5 min before end, ask audience to complete a survey.

Make Sense?

If this quick list of tips is missing a bit of context for you—that’s because I want you to watch the video! You won’t regret it.

And don’t forget to take notes for future reference when you’re called to moderate a panel.


After watching this video, what tip do you think was the most insightful? Share your answer on Twitter or Facebook.

PS – for more great info on being a panel moderator, check out this podcast interview I did with Rohit Bhargava who started his career as a keynote speaker by initially just being a moderator.


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