Broadcaster how-to guide: How to conduct an effective panel discussion

| April 17, 2017

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A panel discussion is a conversation on a specific subject between an interviewer (usually the program host) and two or more interviewees. The interviewer helps the panellists make their statements clearly, and then helps create a discussion so that listeners can gain further insights into the subject, and/or about the panellists.

A good panel discussion is more than the sum of its parts. It is more than a sequence of individual interviews. A panel provides the extra value that comes when two or more people are prompted or challenged to engage in a discussion that provides new and sometimes surprising insights into the subject, and/or the panellists themselves.

How can panel discussions help me serve my listeners better?

– Listeners love to listen in on a lively conversation among interesting people.

– Listeners get to hear from people who are making the news.

– Listeners learn that there can be many valid points of view on important topics.

– Listeners feel encouraged to question or confirm their own beliefs.

How can conducting panel discussions help me produce better radio programs?

– Setting up a panel encourages me to find people with important and diverse perspectives on a topic.

– Panel discussions can generate story ideas I can pursue in future programming.

– Lively panel discussions prompt listener feedback, and provide material I can use in future programs.