How to Host Successful Virtual Panel Discussions?

You should read our blog post where you can find useful detailed information about the basics of panel discussion and how to improve your virtual or hybrid events in our blog post below

You should read our blog post where you can find useful detailed information about the basics of panel discussion and how to improve your virtual or hybrid events.

When you attend physical events, you have come across a wide variety of speaker events many times, with keynotes, informative presentations and panel discussions. Events like these help inform your audience and attract more attendees. An engaging panel discussion is a great way to engage and inform your audience.

Did you know that the virtual platform also allows you to host these discussions and broadcast them to a live audience? You can even save them for later so everyone can access them whenever they want. A successful panel creates a lot of dynamics about your virtual event. That's why you want to make sure you get the right speakers and topics to create the right atmosphere. In today's post, we'll cover the basics of panel discussion and important tips on how you can improve your virtual or hybrid events.

What is Panel Discussion?

A panel discussion refers to a situation in which a group of people sit together in front of an audience and discuss a particular topic. These topics usually take place in the types of conferences that are attended by academic, entertainment, sports, business, or audience members because of a common interest. Speakers are usually authority figures in the field and often have different views on the chosen topic. This leads to an active discussion that educates and excites the audience, providing them with new perspectives and giving them a chance to ask questions of their favorite experts.

These discussions are a great way to understand a topic in a nuanced way and to listen to the various perspectives around it. Although it started as a purely physical event with all guests gathered in one place, virtual panel discussions are becoming increasingly popular. This makes it easy to get your guests together in one place without having to worry about logistics and timing. They also allow you to appeal to a larger audience, generating more interest online.

What are the Types of Panel Discussions? 

In fact, we could say that there are many types of panel discussions. Three of the main ones are panel discussions for public, educational and entertainment purposes.

1. Public Panel Discussions

These are often organized to share and discuss the concerns faced by the public. If you are interested in social or economic issues and want to raise awareness, this should be your preferred genre. It informs the audience about a particular topic, shares relevant details, and raises questions and concerns for consideration. In short, the issues arising from life and people are discussed and focused on these issues.

2. Educational Panel Discussions

Most panel discussions are part of this genre. They discuss the details and nuances of a particular subject, such as a highly specialized academic field. They also aim to educate the audience about a particular topic, with facts, information and various perspectives surrounding it. These include discussions on scientific theories, educational methods, and learning strategies. They are usually held at academic conferences where the audience is ready to gain in-depth knowledge of various informative topics.

3. Entertainment Panel Discussions

Sometimes, the purpose of a panel discussion is simply to introduce a new movie or comic and get an audience to focus on it. These are often held at events such as comic book conferences and movie announcements. While these discussions are not as educational as the first two, they still provide valuable information and create an atmosphere for discussion for a wide audience. In fact, they are often the most likely to get the highest engagement levels, as big entertainment announcements are exciting and dynamic.

What Are Panel Discussion Examples?

You can come across many good examples of both physical and virtual panel discussions. However, we will give you a few examples of the most successful virtual panels, the popular panel method of recent times.

E3 2021

Almost every video game player looks forward to the E3 event every year. Usually held at the Los Angeles Convention Center, this event also adopted the hybrid event model early on. Therefore, even when physical events were cancelled, they managed to get through this year with a free online event. This event includes a series of fascinating panels where developers and other experts discuss various aspects of game development, design and writing. It has proven to be a huge success, with most game development companies using virtual panels to make their releases and update announcements.

Comic-Con @ Home 2020

This is one of the few types of events that managed to establish in 2020, during the hardest times of the pandemic. As in the previous case, this event was running on a hybrid model in previous years, but due to COVID-19 restrictions it has become completely virtual. He also conducted a rich series of panel discussions covering everything from newly released films to the role of directors in popular cinema. These discussions made possible the usual excitement about the event, and their online version allowed a wide audience to experience them.

Duke University

Most academies switched to online platforms when the pandemic emerged. But her classes and educational activities continued. Of course, they had to perform these activities virtually. Duke University and its alumni held a series of panel discussions covering topics ranging from the impact of COVID-19 on restaurants to systemic racism.

Why Should You Have Virtual Panels at Your Events?

If you're hosting a virtual or hybrid event, you need to create some excitement here. In addition, providing valuable information to your target audience that they cannot find elsewhere will provide you with positive feedback. Event panels are great opportunities for people to learn more about their field or industry and even get a chance to ask questions. Therefore, a panel discussion can really increase the interest of the audience and bring you more visitors.

A virtual panel discussion is another dimension entirely because you have so much more leeway and freedom to invite guests from all over the world. This allows you to choose the best of the best and leverage their presence in your event marketing. Engage with industry leaders, and you'll generate considerable excitement about your event and see more online listings. Here, your event could even go viral on the internet if the expert says something influential or engages in an active discussion with other panel members. That's why it's always a good idea to have exciting virtual panels at your hybrid or online events.

Who Should You Invite?

Your choice of guests can make a big difference in how successful your virtual panels will be. As a general rule, you should make sure to invite respected experts from all sides of a subject. It doesn't matter which direction you lean in, but it's essential that you create an exciting and active discussion on your event panel. This will be on both sides of the discussion and will also allow you to give the other side a chance to respond to a wider audience.

Also, you can't advance a panel efficiently unless you have a good moderator on the panel. This moderator will initiate and maintain the discussion by raising specific questions and listening to both sides. If they do their research well enough, they can really get speakers to delve into the exciting details of a topic. That's why you need to find a moderator who does her research and is good at moving discussions forward. They should also know when to end the discussion and ask questions to the audience.

How Do You Structure a Panel Discussion?

The ideal panel discussion follows a specific format and flow. You and your panel moderators need to make sure your speakers will follow this flow and continue the panel accordingly. Here's what a panel discussion should ideally look like: 

  •  Introduction of speakers and moderator

  •  A brief description of the subject and its scope

  •  A small talk to determine the views of each speaker

  •  A question and answer session with the moderator and speakers

  •  A precise explanation

  •  Grounding for audience questions

This flow naturally and reasonably moves the discussion forward. This prevents any of the speakers from feeling like they are not being listened to. You should invite moderators who have the skills to advance such discussions in an engaging way. Basically, they should have enough knowledge of the topic to ask the right questions. Also, your moderators should be able to deal with the virtual meeting platform you will be using. Virtual moderation is a completely different version. That's why you need to work with people who are knowledgeable about technology. This will help make your virtual panel discussion a success.

Where Can You Organize a Virtual Panel Discussion?

In the last few years, there has been a great need for virtual and hybrid event platforms. However, despite all the options available, not every one offers the right experience. Regardless of the industry you belong to and the scale of your event, Endless Fairs is working to offer the best for you. It offers a variety of virtual event solutions and integrations to make things easier for organizers and visitors alike.

In addition, it is very easy to use with its extensive technical support. So you don't get a problem at any point. You can contact the Endless Fairs team to have a perfect and trouble-free event process and to get answers to your questions. Stay tuned to Endless Fairs' informative blog posts to learn about this and more helpful tips.

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