Environment And Humanity with Vanessa Tyler and Inspiring Conversations with Kristin Arnold

Emmy Award-winning and multi-Emmy nominated news anchor and host, Vanessa Tyler, talks to us about writing and her journey towards becoming big in the industry. Taking us back to Harlem, she shares how motivation is driven by a person’s environment. Vanessa recalls about how the people who surrounded her helped protect her dream and curiosity. She believes that each of us has the power to inspire and motivate others with our dreams as well. Vanessa provides some insights on overcoming adversity and moving past the struggles that will continuously come your way.


As the 2018 Smart Meetings Award Winner, meeting innovator Kristin Arnold provides great information on conducting discussions that are far from the lazy format of usual panels. Kristin talks about inspiring conversations by giving out strategic questions and provides tips on moderating your panels in the future. She also gives insights on how to deal with the different people attending the panel, showing how at the end of the day, it is not about you but the people who attend.

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We have two impressive people on the show, Vanessa Tyler and Kristin Arnold. Vanessa Tyler is an Emmy Award-winning, multi-Emmy nominated news anchor-reporter and host. Kristin Arnold has won the Smart Meetings award winner, 100 Inspiring Women in Meetings. She’s a master facilitator, she knows everything there is to know about panel moderating. These two have made it big and I’m curious to find out what they can teach us about how we could follow in their footsteps.

Listen to the podcast here

Environment And Humanity with Vanessa Tyler

I am here with Vanessa Tyler, who is an Emmy Award winner and a six-time Emmy-nominated reporter-anchor with more than two decades of broadcast journalism experience. She has quite a fascinating background. She’s a New York City anchor show host, award-winner, adjunct professor, voiceover work and child book author. Welcome to the show.

Thank you so much for inviting me on.

I’d like to thank Dr. Gilda, our mutual friend who’s been on my show as well. She is amazing. She was a regular on Sally Jessy Raphael Show and she’s a top relationship guru everywhere. She’s one of my favorite people. I’m fascinated by the work that you do. Do you have any spare time after that list of what you’re doing currently?

I absolutely have not one second of spare time. Dr. Gilda is one of my dearest friends. We got to know each other when I worked at WPIX 11, which is the iconic New York City television station. I went to her and had her on our newscast many times. I would have her as an expert and a source. She’s always fun to talk to. After that, we became great friends. We talk often, we go to lunch, and we laugh a lot.

Environment impacts your curiosity. Click To Tweet

I just met her and I immediately was drawn to her. She’s so much fun and we talk all the time. She had such great things to say about you and I could see why. I was watching some of your work and I saw the Emmy Award-winning pieces. I want to start with your background. Were you raised in Harlem?

I was born and raised in Harlem. I have always loved writing. From the very beginning, I remember winning an essay contest about fire prevention or something like that. I’ve always written on essay contests. I remember one time winning one and the mayor gave me a medal. It was so much fun. The best part of my job is the writing and that’s what I love most. Now, I am an anchor so I don’t do as much writing at work, only rewriting and copy editing. I do a lot of that, no shade to the producers, but it happens. I also have other projects that allow me to do the writing that I love. That’s where my passion is.

It is something that I can relate to. I’m writing and I know Gilda writes. You write children’s books, right?

Yes. I have written a manuscript about the character who’s an eleven-year-old, which was the age that I was when I decided to become a television news reporter. She goes around in her hometown finding stories. The manuscript that I wrote, that’s illustrated which I’m pushing, is called The Dog Gone Human: The Big Breaking News Story You Have to See to Believe. The story is about a dog that came from space that turns into a human. Initially, people didn’t believe her when she did the story. Then the camera crews and reporters came from all over and then they found out, “If you want to be a news reporter, you can’t have fake news. You can’t make stuff up.” It’s the cutest story and it’s well illustrated. That’s the project that I’ve been working on. As well as another show called The Spot. I don’t want to overwhelm because it does sound like a lot, but I am doing a bunch of stuff and I’m invigorated.

You started to mention The Spot with Vanessa Tyler, which I’m interested in that. Is that your new show in New York City?

It is. I’m in production with that show. That show is like a lifestyle culture show about exciting restaurants and people. I liken it to a CBS Sunday Morning, an eclectic show. You’ll have a bunch of different things, interesting people you may not have heard about or seen before. This is an opportunity for them to show their talent, for us to learn about them and put them on our radar. At some point, you will hear about them. I’ve put together a bunch of great pieces. I want to continue and complete that entire season. It’s going to air on NYC Life television, which is the New York City Public Broadcasting Station reaching about eighteen million people. It also airs in New York City taxi cab, so that reaches a couple of million more. The station has a wide breach and you can also go to NYC Life TV website and you can look for The Spot with Vanessa Tyler there because the episodes would also air there as well.

Are you the main host or do you do any panel things? How do you pick your guests?

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Inspiring Conversations: It’s interesting the way I get my story ideas. It’s either people call me or I see something.


I’m the host and the executive producer. It’s interesting the way I get my story ideas and the way I take my topic is the same way I do with new stories. People call me or I see something and I say, “That’s interesting.” That’s how I get the topics. I’ve certainly been very pleased about some of the things we’ve been able to obtain and some of the things we’re also going to get.

You’ve obviously picked some amazing stories in the past. I’ve watched your piece on Jesse Morella, the sniffing heroine story. That was heartbreaking. Can you tell my audience a little bit about that story?

What most stands out about that story is the courage of Jesse’s mother. He’s a teenager and he decided to go out with some friends and try heroin. He never tried it before and he overdosed. He did come back, but he did lose oxygen. He’s like a vegetable. He’s learning everything, how to feed himself. He will never be the same again, the damage was permanent. It was one night of going out with friends to do a damage that’s going to last a lifetime. Instead of him staying in rehab and the family keeping it to themselves, his mother decided to use him as a living example. He’s in a wheelchair and she takes him to high schools, similar to Scared Straight. Many years ago, there was a program called Scared Straight where they would take kids to prison to see that, “This is how you will end up if you don’t straighten up and fly right.”

I thought that she was amazing to have the courage to share her pain that way. I don’t remember how that story came to me. He was getting rehab and someone called maybe from the rehab center to say that his mom decided to talk about his story. When I got there and met them, I said, “This is a story that has to be certainly told.” It aired on WPIX TV when I was a reporter there. I was reporting there for about twelve years, but I reported and anchored all around the country. I lived in Charlotte, North Carolina. I lived in Dayton, Ohio. I lived in Rochester, New York, Salisbury, Maryland, Washington DC.

When I started in the news business, you went around the small market until you landed in New York. Now, it’s different. A lot of small stations in New York, including the station where I currently anchor, often give young reporters a chance. We have a lot of young reporters working at my station, the anchors and executive producers are more experienced. The reporters are very young and they get their opportunities to start in New York City, which was unheard of back then.

We all face adversity. Click To Tweet

You progressed since you started in Harlem and ended up in New York City as an award-winning reporter and all the things you do. I can’t imagine how difficult that must have been for you to go through that process, that’s not easy. You produced and hosted What’s Eating Harlem.

That show still has reruns on NYC Life and it turned out to be a good show. Harlem has always been an interesting place because, even though it’s part of Manhattan, it always had the feeling of a small village. You received so much support from the people in your village. Where I grew up, I always had the support of the neighbors and the people. It’s hard to say, but it seems as if people knew the kids who were going to be special and you were almost protected, not just by your parents but by the whole neighborhood. “You’re smart,” they would say. “You’re this and that.” They knew you’re going to make it. As a result, I felt very much protected. I felt special in Harlem from the people.

When the opportunity came to do a show about Harlem, I said, “This is a way to show my love affair with Harlem.” I wrote that because what I did was I pointed out some of the very special people in Harlem. There was a story I did on this woman who owns a daycare center. She owns a couple of them in Harlem and some in the Bronx too. Oftentimes, daycare centers may close at 6:00 PM or something like that, but she would keep her daycare center open all night or up until about 11:00 PM especially people with certain jobs that did not pay a lot. Their hours are not 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, they may get off at 10:00 PM.

She decided that for the kids who came through her daycare center, she would open little accounts, little college funds, and she would fuel it. When the time came and they went to college, she would have a little something to give them. Maybe it would help with books or something else. She said, “I believe in these kids so much that I wanted to make sure that I was not only there at the beginning of their lives but toward the end.” To me, that was so special. She didn’t have a lot of money, she wasn’t a millionaire, but it’s almost going back to that support that I thought that I was special. It’s called Round the Clock Daycare and it’s in Harlem. Gail Davis is the owner and she is amazing. I did so many stories.

What’s Eating Harlem is probably in its fourth-year airing. I’m no longer doing new episodes of the show because I’m working on this other one. We did phenomenal stories over the years with people and the changing Harlem. The new restaurants, the influx of diversity. Harlem has always been diverse, but now it’s really diverse. People are seeing the beautiful architecture and the warm people. The people who move to Harlem and live on the Upper West Side or Lower West Side because of a certain value in terms of real estate, always say to me, “The people here are so friendly.” As if they were stunned and they are. You don’t walk past people in Harlem without saying good morning or hello, you acknowledge people. That’s a tip. If you come to Harlem, say hello to everybody you pass on the street.

I did a research of it regarding curiosity and part of a tool I created to measure what impacts curiosity. One of the big things I found was the environment. All the things you’re talking about how they supported you because you were smart. Maybe the ones who weren’t as smart didn’t get as much support. You wonder how much your environment impacts your curiosity. To me, curiosity is such a huge part of what makes people successful, innovative and engaged at work. You probably deal with a lot of those topics because you interviewed the C-Suite. Do you still interview people in the C-Suite?

Are you talking about Starter Television?

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Inspiring Conversations: Curiosity is such a huge part of what makes people successful, innovative, and engaged at work.



Yes, I do. I like Starter TV, that’s what I do on a freelance basis. I interviewed C-Suite executives and thought leaders. It’s fascinating what’s happening with what we used to call “HR,” what’s happening with employment, jobs, and the way people are looking at employment. I’m a prime example. We’re in this thing called the gig economy. You’re having a million different projects and a million different jobs, which I liked because they’re similar in my wheelhouse of what I do. At Starter TV, which is an online show, it’s a cross between the way old Charlie Rose used to be and a Think Tank show.

We sit down for an hour, which in television news, that’s a long time. It’s like a TED Talk where we let people talk, you ask them everything, and you ask them about different concepts. They put it online. They put it in snippets online and then you can see the interview in its entirety. It’s interesting talking to people about what’s happening, the changes that are going on, the culture in the workforce. Those are concepts that are emerging and how people are sometimes even selecting their employment by the culture of a place. What good is that company doing for our country and the environment? A lot of companies are molding and putting that out there and marketing it so employees are attracted to it. It’s more than just working, you have to do something fulfilling. We have to start thinking differently, thinking globally. Talking about the very humanity in all of us, which is very important. Whether you’re from Harlem or Holland, there’s a humanity there that has to be respected and cherished for us to even continue in this world.

What you’re doing sounds a lot like what we do on this show in terms of showcasing top executives and thought leaders. We’re getting the story of how they became successful and what they can share with other people. We have everybody from Steve Forbes to billionaires, fascinating people. I’d love to hear those stories. What fascinates me about you is everything first of all, but then more specifically, is that you’ve got so many interests. I’m like you, I have a million jobs and I do the gig thing. I like to get anything because it’s never boring. You focus on business, on real-life family stories, and kids’ stories. You focus on so many things. Is there a favorite for you of the topics that you cover?

We all face adversity. I like to hear what fuels them to go beyond that, which would have been in a dark time, not to be morbid or anything. At some point, you hit a wall and you have to have something that you say to yourself or something that happens that helps propel you to continue to move on. Those are the things that I’d like to talk about with people because there’s always a time when you say, “That’s too much. I can’t.” Then you turn around and say, “I will.” That’s where it kicks in and that’s where you make it. A lot of us, especially the people who are not getting the encouragement, you have to be self-motivating to do it because everybody is not as smart as other people think. They know it into themselves that they have to push harder in order to make it.

Everybody is not as smart as other people think. Click To Tweet

You were talking about overcoming and I like to showcase those stories too. I’ve had like Erik Weihenmayer who lost his vision and still climbing Mount Everest. All those kinds of stories are always fascinating. Since you grew up in Harlem and coming from an area that’s sometimes hard to get ahead in. Let’s say someone had made it through high school, but they haven’t made it out of their neighborhood. They have some big dreams, but nobody’s helped them along to give them a little encouragement. Are there any suggestions you would have for them? How can they overcome, get out and do something a little bit more if nobody’s extended them a helping hand?

It’s interesting that you say there’s nobody, there’s always somebody. It does take a little work and a lot of prayers, but you have to find someone who would give you a shot and will give you some advice. You definitely need somebody, it’s hard to do it alone. You could do it with faith and in grace, but a lot of times a lot of young people may not have that. That stuff comes over time. Although I have met very spiritual young people. I’m doing a piece on the AME Church and they have a yearly summer retreat in Ohio. I went there, we shot it and we’re going to put together a piece on Tawawa, which is what they call their summer retreat.

It’s an Indian name stemming from the part of Ohio where there was a river and they had the campgrounds years ago, so they kept the name. I met such impressive young people. This one young man could open the church. He was so charismatic and he was able to preach it. He was so passionate. He told me after we did the interview, “I have a blood disease. They don’t know how long I will live.” I thought to myself, “It’s incredible.” He’s an encouraging person.

To the young people or people who need encouragement, please find someone and keep searching. It could be a peer. If a young person met this young man, he would be a great encouragement or a mentor. I do believe in mentors. I do believe that there are people out there who are like guardian angels who are sent to help you to get to at least reconnect them. Then find someone else to take you from that step forward. Everybody can get out and everybody could move on and move up. Once you do that and you still have to continue, the struggle continues. It’s not like it never stopped.

It’s important to surround yourself with people who have done more and are brighter. That’s some great advice. I don’t know if there’s anything you haven’t tried yet, but you have quite an impressive background. A lot of people would like to know how they could find out more about your work. Do you have a website you want to share or any other information?

Find someone who would give you a shot because sometimes, it’s hard to do things alone. Click To Tweet

I am definitely on all social media platforms, please definitely follow me on Instagram, @VanessaTyler1 and on Twitter @VanessaRTyler. Follow me on Facebook, I would love to be friends with you.

Thank you so much for being on the show. This has been so fun and I’ve got to thank Gilda again. This was great.

This was amazing. I loved talking to you.

Inspiring Conversations with Kristin Arnold

I am here with Kristin Arnold, who is the 2018 Smart Meetings Award Winner, 100 inspiring women in meetings master facilitator and panel improvement, evangelist. She helps executives and their teams think through things through better decision-making and achieving a sustainable result. She’s also a contributing author to a lot of different magazines, high powerful newspapers, and group facilitation handbooks. She’s also the author of Powerful Panels: A Step-By-Step Guide to Moderating Lively and Informative Panel Discussions at Meetings, Conferences, and Conventions. Tell me about that award you won.

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Powerful Panels: A Step-By-Step Guide to Moderating Lively and Informative Panel Discussions at Meetings, Conferences and Conventions

Smart Meetings Magazine is one of the premier magazines in the meeting industry space. I was voted in the innovator section. They were looking for people in different kinds of modalities. I’m a meeting innovator. I’m on a crusade to make all panel discussions lively and informative because most of them are horrible.

Why are they so bad?

It’s a pretty lazy format. The meeting organizer will put a couple of people on a panel either because they had to or their sponsors want to highlight a certain topic. They assigned somebody to be a panel moderator who may or may not have the skills. That panel moderator might think about it two days beforehand and do what everybody else does, which is a very boring panel format. If you want to make your panels lively, informative, spontaneous and something that people lean into and go, “I can’t get that on Google. That is a live conversation among people versus a bunch of presentations.” That takes intentional choices that a panel moderator should be thinking about even before the panel comes together. It’s a lazy format. If you’re going to be a lazy panel moderator and a lazy panelist, then you get milquetoast for a panel.

I’m detecting a theme of laziness. I see a lot of panels where they asked everybody on the panel the same question here, “What do you think of person A and person B?” Do you ask everyone on the panel? Do you just take one at a time? What do you think in that respect?

That’s what I call the Hot Potato Format. We ask the same question and pass the hot potato or we do it a Ping Pong Format, which is I ask panelists A a question. They answer it back to the panel moderator, the panel moderator then asks the panelists B a different question and those panelists answer it back to the moderator and so on. You don’t get that conversation. What I try to do is inspire a conversation. In the planning and the preparation, there’s a conversational drumbeat. Usually, the opening starts with a question that is pretty strategic, pretty interesting to the audience that people can lean in.

You, as a panel moderator, have to ask, “If I’m going to do a hot potato, which is a strategy, how do I craft the question so that it’s uniquely different to each panelist?” It’s the same question, but it’s got a different nuance to it. If we are going to start with a ping pong you want everybody to be able to weigh in. You structure those questions so that they build on each other. That creates more of a conversation where you see panelists B saying, “To add to what panelist A was saying.” You have to think about how you’re going to open the discussion and then, how do you move the discussion along.

There’s always going to be somebody who dominates the panel, that is why a good facilitator moderates the discussion. Click To Tweet

Can you give me an example of a strategic question? Let’s say, you are going to have interviewed me and several other podcasts hosts on a panel, how do you know how to put together that strategic question?

Firstly, you figure out what the topic is and what the promise is to the audience. Then the strategic question needs to be aligned with that. Usually, it’s teasing out what the interesting part is. Is it that we don’t know how to do this? Are there various ways to do this? Why this panel topic at this time? That would be the strategic question. To panelist B, you could say, “Do you agree with panelist A? Is there something else to this topic that we need to be aware of?” You build it in a sequence.

I meet a lot of experts who want to set up events and they want to have a panel at the event. Sometimes they want to be the person that moderates the panel. They have never done that before and that can be a big challenge. You’re the author of Powerful Panels and I read that. It was a good step-by-step guide and it gives you what you need to think about ahead of time. This is the thing that makes it boring. It’s good because you’ve thought it all out for people where people sometimes think they can show up, sit there, and ask questions. You’ve had people you’ve interviewed, no matter how open-ended you ask it, you’re going to get short answers. How do you deal with that type of personality?

I like that in a basic format discussion rather than looking at it like we’re going to do what most panel format. There are four different kinds of primary format. You’ve got the introduction, moderator-curated questions, and some audience Q&A if you happen to have time, which I’m rolling my eyeballs because that’s like a bad juju if you’re not managing the time who else is. Then there’s some closing thing. I like to think about the moderated panel questions, the questions that you come up with as the moderator planning out different segments. It’s like you’re shifting gears. First, you start off with a strategic question and then, you shift gears into something else that would be interesting in a different format. Then, you would shift gears in a different way. Maybe you might be a pulling the panelists or pull the audience. Maybe you might ask for a lightning round or ask for one word. Do something to mix up the pace and timing of the people, so that people will be like, “That’s different. We’re not being lulled to sleep by question and answer, question and answer?”

Some of those answers you can get from the panel hog that will want to go on and on. How do you stop that?

There’s always going to be somebody who dominates the panel. That’s why you are a good facilitator who’s moderating the discussion and you know how to gracefully intervene but certainly intervene. There are lots of different ways starting with eye contact or movement towards them if you happen to be not seated. I’m a big fan of not sitting down when I’m moderating a panel. It allows me more freedom to work with the audience as well as to move closer to the panelists to even redirecting. They take a breath and you redirect the conversation and you say, “Diane, what do you think about what Todd is saying?” There are all kinds of different ways to intervene while making the panelists still look brilliant and it’s about knowing when and how to do that.

I was watching Jeff Hayzlett interviewing Steve Wozniak at an event I went to in Arizona. Wozniak was great. He kept going on and he was all over the board. It was so funny because Jeff just called out the elephant in the room. He goes, “I lost control of this a long time ago.” Everybody laughs. Sometimes it’s fun to make fun of yourself if something goes wrong. Would you do that? How do you handle something like that?

Ultimately, you have to ask yourself. Let’s take this example of Steve Wozniak, was he still serving the audience with the promise that we are there to help deliver? If he didn’t need any steerage or intervention at all, then let him talk. That’s what people are coming for. I remember interviewing Hyrum Smith who created the Franklin Planner system and then it was merged with Stephen Covey, now it’s Franklin Covey. I was interviewing him for the National Speakers Association Voices of Experience. I never asked the question. He just rolled. I think I asked for one, but he kept going and it was so fascinating. You were just wanting to lean in and. when we were talking about how to edit the tape, it was all good.

In being the panel moderator, it’s not about you, it’s about delivering the promise to the audience first. Then second, help your panelists look brilliant. Steve Wozniak is brilliant and he’s entertaining, energetic. He knows that he supposed to be sharing something that the audience can’t get anywhere else. Not all panelists show up with that dose of preparation or even with that dose of skill or eloquence. We, as panel moderators, need to make sure that we’re pulling out that brilliance and make sure that they come prepared to be brilliant.

You don’t just do panel moderating, you do so many things. You speak, you interview people one-on-one, you have your show, different things you’ve done on your sites. When I’m going to interview somebody, at least at the beginning when I first started my show, I would create ideas of specific questions I had in mind just in case I like to go off the top of my head. I don’t have a list of things necessarily that I ask people. When I first started doing it, I did. I noticed the fewer questions you asked were the better shows because those people went on and gave examples and stories. The tough ones are the ones when you had to ask twenty questions. 

You have to go where you think the audience is going to be interested. Click To Tweet

You have to go where you think the audience is going to be interested. The art of follow-up questions is so important. What that means is that you have to be listening at the same time as the panelists are responding. I find a lot of panel moderators tune out, they’re looking at their index cards of the next question that they want to ask. It’s like, “No, there’s probably a golden nugget in there that if you just probe a little deeper you’re going to get something that’s amazing.” The audience is going to go, “I didn’t know that.”

At the Genius Network, Joe Polish was interviewing Naveen Jain and he had his iPad on his lap and he was ready to get his list of things he wanted to address with. Naveen took that right off his lap and threw it behind him on the stage. He’s like, “Let’s just chat.” What do you do if something like that happens?

Go with what the panelist wanted to do. Probably, it was a rip-roaring honey to the audience, but if you’re a good panel moderator, you already have looked at those questions at least ten times. If you can’t remember your top five killer questions, shame on you. Your iPad is your crutch. I like using index cards because then I can shuffle through. Half the time, you’ve already answered the question. It’s like, “I’m not going to ask that one.” Let’s say, I have a 30-minute panel. If I have four panelists, my theory is that you have four times two and you add ten, I should have eighteen questions that I’ve curated in my head and on index cards. I might take out a few as I’m approaching, but I’ll have maybe sixteen cards and half of them get answered without me asking. If you think about a 30-minute panel, you’re not going to get in more than seven questions, so they’d better be a good one.

I want it to be entertaining though too and that’s what I enjoyed about watching Joe Polish and Jeff Hayzlett and some of those types of interviewers. They bring out comedy and that’s hard to do I think for some people. Do you have any advice for how to make it livelier and entertaining and not just question and answer? I understand changing the tone, going back and forth, and not expecting something and being surprised. I like it to be funny too depending on the event and the topic. If you’re talking about cancer or something it’s a little different than if you’re talking about business success.

This is dependent on your own humor style. I don’t think I’m funny, but I’m quirky. I have a weird sense of humor, so I’ll pick up on humor at the moment and deal with whatever shows up and somehow that works. It’s not only about the panel moderator making it fun and interesting, it’s also up to the panelists. If you look at the panels that are amazing. They’re at Comic-Con or any other versions of Comic-Con, but San Diego is the granddaddy of them all. They have a whole stage that has 7,000 people who line up for the day before. Can you imagine it for a panel? Theoretically, the panelists that you have are celebrities in that organization or that industry’s point of view. They’re coming for basically two things. Number one, they’re looking for the spontaneity. Something that is combustible that they can’t get anywhere else. Then something that surprises them. They both feed off of the same thing that you cannot get it anywhere else.

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Inspiring Conversations: Not all panelists show up with preparation or even skill and eloquence. As moderators, you need to make sure to pull out that brilliance within them.


I put together a conference where there were four panelists and Sally Hogshead who is the queen of fascination. She is a panelist and they’re talking about how to be unique and how to be fascinating. She has a story about Jägermeister. She brings a bottle of Jägermeister and four shot glasses onto the panel. She pours the shot and everybody takes one. When I asked her later on, “Did you tell the panel moderator you were going to do that?” She said, “No. I did tell the meeting organizer and asked her, ‘Would it be okay or am I talking to holy rollers that would not appreciate booze on the platform?’” The meeting organizer went, “Yes, go right ahead. That would be fun.” It was something that took people by surprise and that’s not something that happens because you go, “I’m going to be surprising you as a panelist or as a panel moderator.” You think it through, “How can I make this interesting?”

Sally had a lot of good examples of some of the stuff that did that got people’s attention. I admire people so much who can come up with unusual ideas like that. That’s why she wrote How to Fascinate People. She knows how. There’s almost this improved quality that people have, don’t you think? Does it help to take it out?

I’m a geek when it comes to the panel discussion. I have a Google Alert on anything around panels and Bryan Cranston news in Breaking Bad. They were doing a panel discussion at Comic-Con and some kid gets up and asks them a question, “I’m based in Albuquerque.” Bryan goes, “I was in Albuquerque once. What’s your name?” The kid says his name and Bryan goes, “I think I dated your mother.” The kid goes, “What?” He goes, “Yes, your mom. Why don’t you call your mom and see?” It was so weird. Obviously, it wasn’t but the kid actually called his mom and the mom goes, “No, I never dated Bryan Cranston. I think I would have told you.” It’s the funniest thing. That was spontaneous humor that he was playing with this kid, it’s adorable. Fans love it when people are engaged with them. Depending on your topic and what you’re trying to do, but you can do spontaneous things to make people feel good, “You’re recognizing that I also have experience in that.” The panelists can say, “Becky, you have experience in this. Why don’t you share your best practice on this?” Why not share the stage? There are all kinds of things that we can do to make it interesting.

You’re around a lot of NSA speakers and people who maybe want to do more panel moderating. What advice do you give them if they want to get into it more? How do they even get people to notice that that’s what they wanted to do initially?

Firstly, know that’s what you do. The worst thing that you can do is if you’re not a panel moderator and you take a job as a panel moderator and suck at it, that’s not going to help your career. I would suggest that you read my book. I also have a free video course out there at PowerfulPanels.com. It was very short, sweet to the point. I would watch people who do great interviews or listen. Listen to this podcast, look at how people interview. The difference between an interview and a panel is an interview is with just one, a panel is an interview of multiple people at the same time. You want to look at how do they interview, what did they do that resonated with you? What did they do that you would go, “No way would I ever do that, no way would I ever ask that question?”

The art of follow-up questions is so important in a panel. Click To Tweet

You can learn from that and then start small. This is stupid, but it’s true. You can moderate a panel discussion at a cocktail party or at a dinner table conversation or with your family, try it out. Whether you tell people that you’re roleplaying or not, it makes no difference but try it out. Make sure they know how to start a conversation and move it along. If you’re a decent speaker, if you’re talking about speakers trying to do more panel moderation, you know how to open and how to introduce people. You know how to do the blocking and tackling of closing. It’s the middle part and how do you do Q&A. How do you get the panel to discuss things among themselves? How do you get the panel to involve the audience and discuss things with the audience? Those are all skills that unless you already facilitate a lot, which is how I got started into moderating panels. It’s a little foreign because you are no longer the sage on the stage, you are the guide on the side. It is not about you. If you know a lot about that topic, you should be a panelist and not the panel moderator.

You and I both have some things in common. We both had a lot of personality test certifications and different things that we’d like. I’ve created my Curiosity Code Index, which is to measure the factors that impact curiosity. I’d love to have a panel discussion about that. It could be interesting to talk about personality in a panel. I know you do Myers-Briggs, Human Synergistics, and different things that you do. Have you done personality-based discussions?

TTL 251 | Inspiring Conversations
Inspiring Conversations: The difference between an interview and a panel is that an interview is with just one; a panel is an interview with multiple people at the same time.


No, I haven’t. It would be an interesting thing that a speaker could do. Let’s say you’re speaking on a creativity, somebody else is speaking on disruption, and another person is speaking on innovation, which they’re all linked to each other. You suggest that the three keynote or the main stage presenters have a panel discussion after the three of you have been on a stage like, “Let’s have a panel discussion about what is the application of this to the industry or the organization or whoever the audience is?” They’ve heard three different perspectives all align to help with the theme of the conference or meeting. How does that meld together? How does it stitch together? Where are the integration points? What is the impact on the audience? What can you do? It’s a killer if you can do that. You can suggest that to your meeting organizer.

I saw a lot of that at the Genius Network and a lot of the things I’ve attended in the past. They do a good job of bringing it all together at the end with some of the top people. How often do you have the audience ask questions? How much do you think that that they can get off topic and how do you stop that?

There is a golden nugget in there that if you just probe a little deeper, you’re going to get something amazing. Click To Tweet

One of my favorite formats is to crowdsource the question. In fact, my favorite panel is, I don’t even ask any questions, it all comes from the audience. You can precede the application and I love using Sli.do where I’ll put in a couple of questions. I’ll give people the instructions as they’re walking into the room, encourage them to add more questions and/or like the questions that they want to have answered. We project the questions with the top vote-getter and we start there. Pretty soon they figure out, “If I want this question, they answer it then I need to either write it down or I need to thumbs up and we go through as many as we can.” I might throw in a follow-up question, just to shift gears again or I might do a lightning round or I might throw in something to make it more rather than constantly a question-answer. The main format is it’s audience-generated.

Can you give the link for the videos and for your book and for everything else because I think a lot of people would love to know how they could find out more?

It’s all at www.PowerfulPanels.com. Everything about panels if you want to know more about the other things that I do, that would be KristinArnold.com.

I’ve been on your audios and you on mine and this has been fun to see it from both sides of the coin. Thank you for joining me.

Thanks for the invitation.

I’d like to thank Vanessa and Kristin for being my guest. If you have missed any past episodes, you can go to DrDianeHamiltonRadio.com. I hope you join us for the next episode.

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About Vanessa Tyler

TTL 251 | Inspiring Conversations

Vanessa Tyler is an Emmy award-winning, and 6-time Emmy nominated reporter/anchor with more than two decades of broadcast journalism experience. Knowing since the age of 11, she would become a television news reporter, she has worked in many cities around the country in front and behind the camera. After graduating from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, she started her career in one of the most competitive news markets in the country- WTTG-TV in Washington, D.C. Her first job was behind the scenes as an assignment editor. After Washington, she received her first on-air job at the ABC affiliate in Salisbury, Maryland. Along the way, she reported in Rochester, New York and Charlotte, North Carolina.

About Kristin Arnold

TTL 251 | Inspiring ConversationsKristin Arnold is the 2018 Smart Meetings Award Winner:100 Inspiring Women in Meetings Master Facilitator & Panel Improvement Evangelist who helps executives and their teams think things through, make better decisions and achieve sustainable results. As a high stakes meeting facilitator, keynote speaker and trainer, she has worked with more than a hundred different organizations, three hundred different teams, and presented to over a half a million people around the world on the topics of leadership, strategy, innovation, critical thinking and teamwork. She is an award-winning author, newspaper columnist and contributing author to myriad other team-based books such as The IAF Handbook of Group Facilitation. She is the author of Powerful Panels: A Step-By-Step Guide to Moderating Lively and Informative Panel Discussions.

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