If you’re hosting a panel, it’s up to you to manage the audience.
If you open the floor to an audience Q&A, know that there will be some people who say they want to ask a question but then use their time with the mic to promote their agendas, rather than contribute to the discussion.
Be sure to bring the conversation back to the topic that the panel is discussing. You may have to politely cut someone off, but it can be done with grace. Simply say “thank you” and ask if the person has a question for the panel to refocus the conversation to that of the panel. The audience will thank you.
This post was written by Lisa Elia, a media trainer, presentation trainer, pitch coach, communication expert, and speaker. She trains clients around the world for media interviews, speeches, internal and external presentations, panels, investor presentations, and promotional videos. With more than 25 years of experience, Lisa has prepared clients for interviews with TODAY, GMA, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, ESPN, and hundreds of other outlets. Lisa has shared her expertise with national media outlets that include Inc., Entertainment Tonight, E!, and many others. Clients include entrepreneurs, Fortune 500 companies, and everything in between as well as athletes, celebrities, and other public figures.