I’ve been to a lot of conferences lately and there is one conference convention I wish would die: the panel discussion.

To be more specific, it’s the panel part I wish would go away.

A panel is almost the opposite of a discussion.

Participants are packed behind a long table. They can’t see each other very well. What we can see of them is hunched over a cafeteria table, their necks craning towards a microphone.

These “discussions” always remind me of congressional hearings, which have never struck me as terribly moving experiences.

Actual discussions can be very moving. 

So why not have your panelists stand next time? Give them some ability to move around. Or arrange them in comfortable chairs curved towards the audience so that we feel more like we’re hearing wisdom from our elders, not testimony from the defendants.



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Andy Zimney is a Senior Advisor and Team Performance Coach at Employee Strategies, Inc., a boutique firm that partners with leaders to develop highly effective cultures that drive outstanding results. Contact ESInc to learn more about how they can assess your current culture and design customized and effective development experiences for your team. Or reach out to Andy directly.