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January 31, 2009

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Alan Reiter

Hi Andy,

I completely agree. I've always considered panelists "fodder" for the audience!

Unfortunately, too many moderators are suck-ups because they either are cut from the same corporate-cowardice cloth as the panelists or don't want to offend them by asking questions the audience really wants to hear.

I've been accused, with some truth, of being too nasty as a moderator. So several years ago I switched to being nicer, but no less aggressive in questioning panelists.

The worst format for a panel is typically where everyone presents PowerPoint slides, with little or no time for questions. The best format is typically no PowerPoints, with panelists answering questions directly from the moderator -- to get things started -- and then taking questions from the audience.

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