21 Insightful Questions to Ask When Moderating Your Next Discussion Forum (Plus Some Great Tips for Creating Your Own) (2023)

Esther Schnippe 3. October 2017 read 6 minutes



Average:5 (1Survey)

“I ask the panel dozens of questions ahead of time…I literally write 30-50 questions ahead of time, knowing I can only answer 5 of them, but when I do ask them, they're worded exactly how I'm writing they'd like to have. , and the board stays on the right track.”
-Tom Webster, author, speaker, and panel moderator.

As a panel moderator, one of your biggest responsibilities is to ask insightful and interesting questions.

Don't settle for the theme.

Instead, come in with the perspective that you are deeply interested in the topic and would like to gain insight by interviewing panel members.

21 Insightful Questions to Ask When Moderating Your Next Discussion Forum (Plus Some Great Tips for Creating Your Own) (2)

Your questions can spark a great discussion that will inform and entertain your audience. So make sure you know what you want to ask before you go on stage.

Here are some questions to help you get started.

21 Questions to Ask Yourself When Moderating Your Next Panel Discussion

While creating questions specifically for your panel is the best way to make your discussion unique and engaging, sometimes it can be hard to know where to start. Read below to learn how to create and collate your queries, or ask the experts atedubirdieto help you create and edit questions.

Here are 21 questions you can ask almost any panel to get started or continue if you've run out of questions of your own.

  1. How can we advance in [area/topic/industry]?
  2. How has [area/subject/industry] changed in the last 5 years? What do you think will happen in the next 5 to 10 years?
  3. What is currently the biggest challenge in [area/topic/industry]?
  4. What are the key changes we need to make to effectively navigate into the future?
  5. What impact did [specific technology] have on [area/topic/industry]?
  6. Who is making the most progress in [area/topic/industry] and what are they doing?
  7. What is the most interesting trend for 2019?
  8. What do you think would be the best outcome for the [public/industry/planet]?
  9. What is the most important way we can make a meaningful difference?
  10. In your publication [book/article/etc.] you said that [point of view]. How did you get there? [Follow-up question to another panelist]: Do you have a different perspective?
  11. What made you decide to address this topic? How did you get to [industry/area] and why do you continue?
  12. How do people in your [industry/field] make a difference in the world?
  13. What has helped you get to where you are [influential/effective/at the top] and what advice would you give to others who want to go in a similar direction?
  14. What are the most common misconceptions that people have? How can we combat these misunderstandings and communicate more effectively?
  15. Can you recall a specific experience where you wished [you/your organization/your industry] had done something different? If you had to do it all over again, what would you change?
  16. A continuation of the previous question: By comparison, do you remember something you did or wish others did and why?
  17. What question are you most tired of on this topic and what would you like to say about it so you never have to answer it again?
  18. What question would you like to hear from [specific panelist]?
  19. What practical advice would you give to someone just starting out?
  20. What is the best resource for those who want to dig deeper?
  21. Is there anything we left here that needs to be addressed?

Create your own questions

If you create your own questions, you must first return to the purpose of your board. Why are you here and why should your audience care?

21 Insightful Questions to Ask When Moderating Your Next Discussion Forum (Plus Some Great Tips for Creating Your Own) (3)

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Every question should come back to her, constantly encouraging your panelists to create value and insights for your audience.

What kinds of questions should you ask?

  • What interests the audience?

  • Will this question draw on the panelist's experience in any meaningful way?

  • Is this question open ended or does it get a simple "yes" or "no" answer?

  • Will the question spark a deeper conversation? Does it have the potential to spark debate?

  • Is this question something you can't easily find an answer to on the internet?

  • Why is this particular speaker on the podium? What unique perspective can you add? how to draw this

Question Checklist

Once you've created your list of questions, go back and make sure you pass the checklist below.

21 Insightful Questions to Ask When Moderating Your Next Discussion Forum (Plus Some Great Tips for Creating Your Own) (4)

5 Point Checklist - It deals with the question:

  • Clear reference to the subject matter.

  • It reflects the perspectives, experiences or interests of the panelists.

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  • Address the problems, challenges or interests of the audience.

  • An important issue that needs to be discussed now.

  • A conversation will start (controversial/different perspectives or experiences).

where do you start opening questions

The first question will set the tone for the panel and is crucial to generating immediate interest.

Avoid over generalizations and try to keep it interesting.

The first person to speak also affects the tone of the panel, so think about who you want to start with and why.

If you start with the quietest person on the panel, does that get them talking right away and keep them engaged in the conversation?

If you start with the person with the most experience, can they dig into the topic right away?

What about the person who originally proposed the idea for the panel? Are they more likely to set the tone you're looking for?

Should you be asking everyone the same opening question to get your first leads?

3 types of opening questions

21 Insightful Questions to Ask When Moderating Your Next Discussion Forum (Plus Some Great Tips for Creating Your Own) (5)

- easy heating

Start with a simple, broad question that the speakers are comfortable with.

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Some examples include a request for a status report, some information about the problem, or how they got involved.

However, don't spend too much time here. Jump to more controversial topics or you risk boring your audience.

- Fire Starter

Ignore the subtleties and start strong.

Create perspective by asking a provocative question.

Some examples: ask each panel member to give a strong opinion on the topic or describe the biggest challenge facing us (or the industry) in the future.

- audience reader

Sometimes it's not possible to find out the knowledge level of your audience before the panel, so starting with a question that helps you and the panelists determine this early on can be very helpful.

Find out their level of knowledge by asking them to raise their hand.

For example, "How many people have been in the industry for less than a year?", "More than a year?", "More than 5 years?" or "Who do you think could lead this panel?" (asks with a touch of humor); or "How many people agree with [a particular perspective on the issue]?" "How many disagree?"

Now get out there and ask some great questions!

As a panel moderator, you have a special role. Your job is to make it as insightful, interesting, and informative as possible.

You may also like...

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Expert Panel Moderators: What questions do you keep coming back to? Share your experiences with us and we may include your tips in a future article.Contact Us.

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Disclaimer: This article contains advertising for paid products.
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How do you moderate a discussion effectively? ›

Tips on How to Moderate a Panel Discussion as a Beginner
  1. Do thorough research on the topic. ...
  2. Meet the speakers before the panel. ...
  3. Manage time effectively. ...
  4. Start with a powerful opening. ...
  5. Be strictly neutral. ...
  6. Mix in audience questions throughout the debate. ...
  7. Don't be afraid to cut the panelists off.
Oct 14, 2022

What kind of questions should you ask in the panel discussion? ›

25 Questions to ask your panelists about the discussion:
  • What perspective will you bring to the discussion?
  • What do you think is the most important issue we will discuss?
  • What do you think our audience would like to know about this topic?
  • What are some of the most common misconceptions about this topic?
Oct 16, 2022

What do you have to bear in mind in constructing questions for a panel discussion? ›

Make sure they are open-ended and have specific elements of each panelist's background so they are able to excitedly answer. Make sure you don't favor one panelist over the others. Make sure the questions are a level playing field where everyone feels that they can provide value to the discussion.

What are 3 basic characteristics of a good moderator? ›

5 things a great moderator needs to do...
  • Anticipate needs and take initiative to stay ahead.
  • Prioritize tasks to achieve efficiency and optimize resources.
  • Engage with focus and empathy to connect with others.
  • Adapt quickly to changing situations to stay agile and responsive.
Jan 3, 2023

What are strong questions to ask? ›

100 Getting to Know You Questions
  • Who is your hero?
  • If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
  • What is your biggest fear?
  • What is your favorite family vacation?
  • What would you change about yourself if you could?
  • What really makes you angry?
  • What motivates you to work hard?

What are 4 effective group discussion techniques? ›

Tips on Facilitating Effective Group Discussions
  • Create an inclusive environment. Opportunities for reflection. ...
  • Keep discussions constructive and positive. Make the discussion functional by clarifying the goals of each session to the group. ...
  • Encouraging participants. Encouraging participation can be accomplished by:

How can you improve the quality of a discussion? ›

Discussion etiquette (or minding your manners)
  1. Respect the contribution of other speakers. ...
  2. Listen well to the ideas of other speakers; you will learn something.
  3. Acknowledge what you find interesting.
  4. Remember that a discussion is not a fight. ...
  5. Respect differing views. ...
  6. Think about your contribution before you speak.

How do you moderate content accurately and efficiently? ›

Best practices for content moderation
  1. Find the method or mix that matches your needs. ...
  2. Create and publish community guidelines. ...
  3. Cover all languages. ...
  4. Incentivize positive behavior too. ...
  5. Consider all types of content. ...
  6. Safety is everyone's responsibility. ...
  7. Build transparency into the system.
Dec 16, 2020

How do you stand out in a panel discussion? ›

Be memorable.
  1. Listen intently to the other panelists. ...
  2. If another panelist states a good idea, expand on that idea.
  3. When you speak, maintain eye contact with the audience instead of with the other panelists.
  4. Look at the other panelists when they speak.
  5. Don't speak every time an issue or question is raised.
Aug 27, 2019

Which one is a good open-ended questions? ›

Generally, questions that start with “what” are good, non-biased open-ended questions. For example “What did you think of today's workshop?” or “What would you like to learn more about?” allow the respondent to answer without being influenced by the person asking the question.

What makes a strong discussion question? ›

Start with Open-Ended Questions – these types of questions help begin a discussion because they encourage multiple viewpoints. They also tend to invite students to share their opinions, which can generate additional topics or define crucial issues.

What are the 3 parts of panel discussion? ›

A 2-5 minute introduction of the topic with each panelist taking five minutes to introduce themselves and their perspectives on the topic. Then 20 minutes of curated questions from the moderator, 10-15 minutes of Q&A with the audience ending with a summary and thanks.

What are some leadership questions for a panel discussion? ›

30 Great Questions to Ask Leadership Panel
  • How do you lead others, and how would you describe your leadership style? ...
  • Which of the following are the single most important characteristics of a leader? ...
  • What was the most rewarding aspect of your role as a leader?
Oct 14, 2022

What are the 4 duties of a moderator? ›

Moderator Responsibilities
  • Room Check. Make a concerted effort to be the first one to arrive in the room. ...
  • Making Introductions. Be sure to get biographical information from your session's speakers well before the session. ...
  • Running the Clock. ...
  • Conducting the Discussion. ...
  • Ending the Session.

Which 12 is the most commonly used moderator? ›

The most commonly used moderator in nuclear plants is Light water. Solution: Moderators are used to slow down the fast-moving neutrons. Light water is the most commonly used moderator in nuclear power plants.

What are your strongest qualities within moderating? ›

Ability to remain impartial, open, and unbiased. Check your opinions at the door. More important, perhaps, than being able to interact with people is not letting your biases show. Regardless of the topic or what respondents say, the moderator acts only as a sounding board.

What are the 5 powerful questions? ›

The Top 5 Most Powerful Leadership Questions
  • What life experience has most shaped who you are? ...
  • What makes it all worthwhile to you? ...
  • Where do you have the most impact? ...
  • What stands between you and where you want to go? ...
  • How are you?
Feb 1, 2021

What are the 21 questions? ›

21 Questions List
  • What's the weirdest dream you've ever had?
  • If you could travel to any year in a time machine, what year would you choose and why?
  • If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
  • What's one of the most fun childhood memories you have?
May 5, 2021

What are good 20 questions? ›

  • Have You Ever Dine And Dashed At A Restaurant? ...
  • Would You Rather Have Endless Money Or Endless Love? ...
  • Have You Ever Been In A Car Crash — And It Was Your Fault? ...
  • If You Could Star In A Movie, What Movie Would It Be? ...
  • What Is Your Most Frequently Used Emoji? ...
  • What Was The Last Thing You Stole Or Shoplifted?
Oct 17, 2017

What are the three C's of group discussion? ›

The three "Cs" which rank you high on this parameter are clarity (the main points to be discussed), content (the vertical depth in each point) and confidence.

What are the 5 tips to be followed in a group discussion? ›

  • Awareness of Topics Relating to Your Background Is Crucial. ...
  • Take the Lead. ...
  • There Is No Place for Aggression in Group Discussions. ...
  • Communicate Effectively. ...
  • Listen Carefully, Do Not Just Hear. ...
  • Work On Your Body Language. ...
  • Avoid Deviating From the Topic. ...
  • Be the First to Summarize the Discussion.
Feb 8, 2023

What are the 5 tenets of a group discussion? ›

They include setting, or helping the group to set the discussion topic; fostering the open process; involving all participants; asking questions or offering ideas to advance the discussion; summarizing or clarifying important points, arguments, and ideas; and wrapping up the session.

What skills are important in group discussion? ›

Important Group Discussion Tips
  • Reasoning ability.
  • Ability to think and act independently.
  • Leadership skills.
  • Communication skills.
  • Skill to work in a team.
  • Ability to take initiatives and have creativeness.
  • Flexibility and boldness.
  • Managerial qualities.

What are the three parts of a moderation system? ›

We have separated the moderation process into three sections - planning, meeting and reviewing:
  • Planning for moderation.
  • Meeting for moderating.
  • Reviewing moderation processes.

What is moderation technique? ›

Definition. Moderation techniques are ways of conducting conversations that help the moderator to involve everyone in the meeting fairly. The various moderation methods can promote a positive atmosphere, allow speaking time to be divided equitably, and contribute toward deescalating any existing conflicts.

What methods do moderators commonly use in moderation? ›

5 Content Moderation Methods You Should Understand
  • Manual Pre-Moderation. Manual Pre-moderation screens all user-submitted content before it goes live on your site. ...
  • Manual Post-Moderation. ...
  • Reactive Moderation. ...
  • Distributed Moderation. ...
  • Automated Moderation.
5 days ago

What are the do's and don'ts in a panel discussion? ›

10 Do's and Don'ts for Moderating a Panel Discussion
  • Do over prepare. ...
  • Don't worry about a pre-call. ...
  • Do get to know your audience. ...
  • Don't let a panelist go too far down the rabbit hole. ...
  • Do stay on time. ...
  • Don't make assumptions about your panelists. ...
  • Do have a say in panelist selection if possible.
Nov 25, 2014

How do you introduce yourself as a moderator? ›

At the beginning of the session, welcome attendees and participants. Be sure to mention the session name in case someone is in the wrong room. Finally, introduce yourself as the moderator of the session, providing your name and affiliation. Outline the ground rules at the very beginning of the session.

How do I make my panel discussion more interactive? ›

6 ways to make your next panel discussion super interactive
  1. 1/ Over prepare.
  2. 2/ Get the audience involved.
  3. 3/ Ask the questions your audience want.
  4. 4/ Talk specifics.
  5. 5/ Let the audience respond.
  6. 6/ Don't forget to listen!
  7. … and after the event.
Jun 30, 2016

What is the hardest part of being a moderator? ›

a) Psychological Stress

One of the biggest challenges that moderators face is psychological stress.

What makes a good content moderator? ›

The most important personal qualities needed to become a good content moderator are patience, integrity, and curiosity.

What are 3 open questions? ›

Examples of open-ended questions include:
  • Tell me about your relationship with your supervisor.
  • How do you see your future?
  • Tell me about the children in this photograph.
  • What is the purpose of government?
  • Why did you choose that answer?

What are 20 open-ended questions? ›

Here are 20 open ended questions for kids:
  • What is something that you can do tomorrow that will make your day better?
  • What do you think about when you wake up?
  • What is the best thing about being a grown up?
  • Today was fun because_________?
  • What's the funniest thing you have ever seen?
  • Which 3 words describe me best?
Sep 13, 2016

What is a funnelling question? ›

Funnel Questions

This technique involves starting with general questions, and then drilling down to a more specific point in each. Usually, this will involve asking for more and more detail at each level.

What are the 3 types of discussion questions? ›

THREE TYPES OF QUESTIONS: 1. Factual 2. Interpretive 3. Evaluative Page 5 FACTUAL QUESTIONS Page 6 FACTUAL QUESTIONS Everyone will eventually agree on the answer.

What is the strong points of panel discussion? ›

Best format for a panel discussion

Ideally, a panel discussion should: Provoke a deeper understanding of the topic discussed. Share and discuss diverse viewpoints and perspectives. Encourage audience engagement and participation.

What a panel discussion should look like? ›

Essentially a panel discussion includes: A moderator or presenter and a panel of experts from within the specified field. Discussing and dissecting the questions with one another. Experts sharing their opinions, experience and expertise from various perspectives, in response to questions from the moderator.

What are the four questions to lead a meeting? ›

Too often, leaders simply state the agenda topic and participants start to talk — an approach that makes tangents inevitable.
To get started, consider these four questions.
  • Why are we gathering? ...
  • Who needs to be here? ...
  • What conversation needs to happen? ...
  • How might we create the conditions for that conversation?
Aug 13, 2020

What are the three questions for a leader? ›

So the three questions if I just lay them out there and get your feedback on them. Question 1 says “Can you help me?” Question 2 says “Do you care about me?” And Question 3 says “Can I trust you?”

What are 4 good questions to ask? ›

Questions About Hopes, Dreams, and Fears
  • What is on your bucket list?
  • What are you most thankful for?
  • What is your biggest regret in life?
  • What are you most afraid of?
  • What do you feel most passionate about?
  • How do you like to spend your free time?
  • What would your perfect day be like?
Jul 5, 2022

What are thought provoking questions for the moderator? ›

21 Questions to ask when moderating your next panel discussion
  • How can we advance the [field/topic/industry]?
  • How has the [field/topic/industry] changed in the past 5 years? ...
  • What is the biggest challenge in the [field/topic/industry] at the moment?

What are moderated questions? ›

Moderated Q&A enables moderators to respond to attendees' questions personally, without sharing the question or response with other attendees. However, at times there may be questions presenters may want to respond to during the webcast and share with all attendees.

What are some 21 questions? ›

21 Questions List
  • What's the weirdest dream you've ever had?
  • If you could travel to any year in a time machine, what year would you choose and why?
  • If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
  • What's one of the most fun childhood memories you have?
May 5, 2021

What are the 7 essential questions? ›

The seven essential questions are: (1) The Kickstart Question; (2) The AWE Question; (3) The Focus Question; (4) The Foundation Question; (5) The Lazy Question; (6) The Strategic Question; and (7) The Learning Question. I have adapted them for the purposes of conflict coaching.

What is the rule of moderator? ›

1 Focus on the participants' goals, evaluations, feelings and opinions. => Which for you means, to step back with your personal contributions or opinions. 2 Take every participant serious and treat all participants in an equal way. => Allow all opinions and ideas to be presented.

What is the most important thing about working as a moderator? ›

A powerful moderator communicates clearly and concisely, using straightforward language without being confrontational or biased. Their job is to ensure the speakers and audience members understand each other and get along, creating a positive and productive atmosphere.

What are 3 critical thinking questions? ›

Let's dive in.
  • How Do You Know This? ...
  • How Would Your Perspective Be Different If You Were on the Opposing Side? ...
  • How Would You Solve This Problem? ...
  • Do You Agree or Disagree — and Why? ...
  • Why? ...
  • How Could We Avoid This Problem in the Future? ...
  • Why Does It Matter? ...
  • What's Another Way to Look at This Issue?

What are the six thought-provoking questions? ›

6 Thought-Provoking Questions to Discover A More Intentional Life (In Any Area)
  • What do I want to accomplish with my life? ...
  • What do I need in order to accomplish that goal? ...
  • What is getting in the way of those goals? ...
  • What caused me to allow things into my life that don't contribute to that goal?

Which one is a good open ended questions? ›

Generally, questions that start with “what” are good, non-biased open-ended questions. For example “What did you think of today's workshop?” or “What would you like to learn more about?” allow the respondent to answer without being influenced by the person asking the question.


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