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 writer, speaker, and facilitator. You can learn more about Andy and how he can help you and your team at AndyZimney.com.