Experts and decision makers
A panel discussion is a more formatted way of stakeholder engagement. The topic, goal and purpose of the discussion are defined, and a moderator facilitates the discussion between the panelists. Panelists can be external experts or decision makers (or experts) from the organisations involved.
Before the panel starts, the guidelines for an open discussion must be clear to all panelists. The guidelines include time limits for answers. Furthermore, the questions have to be determined. Usually one of the panelists answers the question first and the others can react to the question and answer(s).
The moderator asks the questions and coordinates the discussion, including making sure everyone gets speaking time and time is not exceeded. Panel discussions are concluded with a summary and closing remark to recap the outcome.
Exchange of opinions
Panel discussions are suited for situations when an audience is included or when the primary goal is to exchange views on a selected list of topics/questions. The interaction is less informal and personal than other ways of stakeholder engagement.