It includes some of my feedback on the panels I sat in on at SXSWi.
Here's my comment:
Your panel session could have lasted for at least another hour because of all the great input from those in attendance. I am a HUGE fan of the unconference and run meetings here in Boston for media makers in that manner. The first hour is spent going around the room hearing about what people are doing. It's great!
MODERATORS AND STORYTELLERS
At SXSWi, I also could see the benefit of a well run panel. It all hinges on the moderator.
The panelists are up there for a reason. They have a story to tell. Those panelists that told stories were my favorites, while those who read statistics and college thesis off of pieces of paper were not.
Also, those panelists that read prepared speeches were boring.
For moderators, those that let boring panelists drone on did not do their job. Those moderators that allowed each person on the panel to answer an audience question just took time away from more audience interaction. Having each panelist say something in response to an audience question isn't the way to go.
IS THIS ON?
Also, if you are on a panel, talk INTO the microphone. Please. I do not understand why panelists do not know enough to talk into the microphone, even after being told to.
The elderblogger panel/audience interaction was great and it's only flaw was that it was too short.
Here's a new site I just happened across yesterday, via Abby, regarding families telling stories. Maybe you can take some time to check it out.
If it's any good let us know.