Choosing The Best Panel Discussion Format For Your Event In 2019

Riley Moore
CEO of RM4Tech & Co-Creator of CrowdQuestion

July 9th 2019

Panel discussions are the highlight of many events, conferences, conventions, and more. From SXSW to Talking Dead, those hosting the occasion as well as those engaging through asking questions find incredible value. With the widespread success that has come from holding panel discussions, there are plenty of aspects to be mindful of. Here is a guide that lays out the different formats of a panel discussion.

Panel Formats

Before organizing or planning a panel discussion, it is crucial to determine the format and style of how you want to go about it. Panel discussions are largely thirty or sixty minutes in length. Regardless, each panel typically includes most or all of these seven elements. The first element is a welcome period, introducing the panel as a whole. The second element is panelist introductions. The third element is panelist presentations and initial comments. The fourth element is questions that are curated by a moderator direct to the panelists. The fifth element is questions from the audience that are directed to the panelists in some way. Sixth is a summary of what was discussed. Lastly, the seventh element is thanking those who participated and any other closing remarks. While no format is perfect and should be tailored specifically to your occasion, these elements provide an outline for a quality panel event.

There are three popular styles of going about using the elements to guide a powerful panel event. These are:

  1. Q&A Style
  2. Initial Remarks Style
  3. Presentation Style

Q&A Style typically includes a quick introduction of the topic and panelists, around three-quarters of the time for fielding and answering questions, ending with showing gratitude and summarizing the discussion. Questions can be asked solely from the crowd as well as including curated questions from the moderator. While any style can be tailored to your panel experience, Q&A is by far the most popular. This is due to the additional levels of engagement from everyone involved in comparison with the other two styles.

Initial Remarks Style allows for dedicating additional time to the panelists to open up about their perspectives on the topic of the discussion. This style starts with a quick introduction, then provides around a quarter of the time for the panelists to introduce themselves and their standpoint on the discussion. Then around half of the time is spent answering curated questions from a moderator and the crowd. The discussion then ends with a summary and thanking those who participated.

Presentation style provides an additional level of showmanship, being widely used on television for debates and social commentary shows hosted by those such as Trevor Noah. The discussion begins with an introduction as always. From there, each panelist shares their perspective through a full-scale presentation, taking up three-quarters of the time. The occasion ends with a short Q&A session and closing remarks.

Something that can be noted is that engagement between the crowd and the panelists is a part of every session. How questions are fielded and answered by panelists vary. Often, a microphone is placed on a stand where people wait in line or is simply passed around to those interested in asking a question. Another format used is asking questions through social media platforms like Twitter using a hashtag. One of the best ways of fielding questions for the panelists to answer is using CrowdQuestion, the new social platform focused on Q&A The Right Way.

With CrowdQuestion, questions can be asked in a more organized and tailored manner than any other way, allowing for better control over the panel discussion enabling the occasion to go as smoothly as possible. Questions can be asked in written or audio format on any web or mobile device. Questions can be asked before, during, or after the panel discussion. Questions can be directed to one or more panelists as well as asked in a general format. Questions can be voted on allowing for a ranked list to be displayed showing the moderator and panelists the questions everyone has the most curiosity about. Questions can be marked as answered if a panelist verbally answers the question or can choose to answer the question in written format on any web or mobile device. This all enables broader participation and increased efficiency.

CrowdQuestion enhances and allows for some additional scenarios when conducting a panel discussion. It opens up the opportunity for those who are uncomfortable getting up in front of everyone to ask a question the ability to ask a question on their device. It allows for questions to be fielded before the start of the event or throughout the event leading up to the panel discussion. This provides moderators the ability to determine which questions should be answered by the panelists as well as giving those listening to panelist presentations or other points of the event to ask questions that come to mind. A moment between presentations and the panel discussion could be intended for voting on questions that the audience would like answered by panelists most. The opportunities, customization, and enhancements to any panel event are endless with CrowdQuestion.

Digital Panels

CrowdQuestion enables a new opportunity for conducting a panel discussion. What we call a Digital Panel. CrowdQuestion enables digital panels where the whole panel discussion is conducted through our social platform. Questions asked by interested participants and the panelist answers are all done in CrowdQuestion on any web or mobile device. In-person or conference call interaction is not required allowing for participation to be more significant and diverse.

What this allows for is a more accessible, interactive, and engaging panel experience. Organizations and communities can hold various panel discussions whenever they want allowing for participation on a much larger scale. Those who are unable to attend a panel discussion in person can still participate. Questions can be asked and answered for days or weeks extending participation. If you want to limit the number of participants or only allow specific participants, the panel discussion can be made private. Private panel events in CrowdQuestion prevents people from viewing the list of questions and asking questions unless they have the created pin to let them in. CrowdQuestion’s platform truly creates a new panel experience that provides additional levels of value to all involved.

About CrowdQuestion

CrowdQuestion connects Crowds through Q&A The Right Way to bring everyone closer to their community. CrowdQuestion allows Hosts to create Channels where they hold Events to Answer Questions & engage with the Crowd, saving time compared to the pain of doing it through social media. With social media and other current methods hosts engage with their crowds, answering questions in an organized manner can be difficult, sometimes impossible.

CrowdQuestion Provides:
The ability to answer questions from the people involved in what you are doing:

  1. Increases loyalty
  2. Creates opportunity to gain credibility
  3. Spreads better awareness of what you are doing
  4. Allows for the conversation to continue

Features include:

  1. Stay organized across multiple events for any occasion you are involved in and share them with your crowd of interest
  2. Events can be for one specific day or multiple days
  3. Events can be made private with a defined pin so only a select group can participate
  4. Include speakers or guests who can also be asked questions they can answer
  5. Each crowd participant can ask up to twenty questions per month for free and vote on five questions per event to rank them
  6. Ask questions on any web or mobile device in written or audio format
  7. Questions are displayed in an ordered list from highest to lowest rank to assist in showing you what your crowd has the most curiosity about, saving time
  8. Every question can be answered in text, marked as answered if answered in some other form such as verbally, or dismissed
  9. Receive analytics regarding your events and the participants involved with the ability to download in Excel format
  10. Increase your mailing list and reach out to those who are interested in what you are doing

"Being able to ask questions, rank questions, and have the questions answered is the most impactful form of engagement. The engagement between the host and those following the host is at the forefront of CrowdQuestion’s design. Connections are built, and concepts are learned. We cannot wait to see the impact made through Q&A The Right Way." - CEO Riley Moore of RM4Tech & Co-Creator of CrowdQuestion.

Find out how CrowdQuestion connects Crowds through Q&A The Right Way to bring everyone closer to their community. CrowdQuestion allows Hosts to create Channels where they hold Events to Answer Questions and engage with their Crowd, saving you time compared to the pain of doing it through social media. Find out how CrowdQuestion will enhance the experience and quality of engagement surrounding your occasion.

Riley Moore (
Riley Moore, the 25-year old CEO at RM4Tech, the one and only completely family-owned family-run software company, has used his mix of technical and business influences to bring his creative vision to life. With the development of RM4Tech’s first solution, DirectSuggest 'The Suggestion Box Reimagined' , he has become a fresh face in the world of engagement and innovation. Their second solution CrowdQuestion was released in early 2019. CrowdQuestion is focused on connecting crowds through 'Q&A The Right Way' to bring everyone closer to their community. His passion to empower individuals to use their creativity and voice to make a difference in the world is what drives him.
Riley's love for podcasting, mixed with his unrelenting drive to inspire individuals to change the world through passion and hard-work, encouraged the creation of The Moore You Know Podcast. He hopes to impact the world through entrepreneurship and podcasting like those who inspired him.