I'm trying to take my mind off the rain. Via Stephen Downes I discover a post by Doug Johnson called Ten Commandments of Panel Discussions. Let me tell you, this isn't first time I discovered Doug Johnson. Almost ten years ago, I discovered Doug Johnson's book about internet literacy skills - which includes the mankato scale. Fast forward a few years, and someone posts a request on the NTEN list about digital literacy skills. I send a link about Doug Johnson's work. Rick Birmingham, whose Dad worked with Doug, offers to send me an autographed copy of his book!
So, here in lies another act of Kismet ... Stephen Downes refers to a link that I mentioned in a post and links to Doug Johnson. I wonder if Stephen actually knew we were connected?
I'm so excited by this connection that I almost lost sight of the Doug's brilliant points ...
I. Thou shalt limit the session to a single question about a topic pertinent to the targeted attendees.
II. Thou shalt limit the number of panelists to not more than one per 15 minutes of presentation time allotted. For the math challenged, that means no more than four panelists per hour of session.
III. Thou shalt select panelists based on diversity of view, opinion and experience. Invite an outsider looking in, now and then.
IV. Thou shalt plan for at least one-half of allotted time for discussion based on attendee questions.It is a panel discussion, not sequential lectures, after all.
V. Thou shalt have a moderator who actually moderates - enforcing time limits and keeping panelists on topic. An electric cattle prod brandished now and then is advised.
VI. Thou shalt stay on topic. Period.
VII. Unless given a longer time to make opening remarks, thou shalt limit thy responses to less than three minutes per response. Wear a damn watch.
VIII. Thou shalt show the participants and fellow panelists respect by speaking directly to the question.
IX. Thou shalt not talk again until each panelist has replied. Heated back-and-forth dialogs are the exception.
X. Thou shalt understand and keep holy the right to remain silent on topics about which thou knows diddly-squat. As Honest Abe once said, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”
This is great advice as I have phone calls to discuss panel sessions at conferences over the next few months...