A panel is a great opportunity to share your expertise, highlight what you know and establish yourself as a leader in your field. But the audience has registered, paid and given up valuable time to attend and learn something relevant and useful, so be sure to deliver!
PRofessional Solutions President Kate Perrin is a frequent panelist on programs about PR hiring trends and career information. Here are her five expert tips on how to shine during your next panel presentation.
- Know your audience and their expectations. Before you agree to participate, ask the organizer what specifically the audience should take away and the general make-up of the audience. If you’re not an expert on the topic, turn down the invitation.
- It’s unforgivable when a panelist says, “I haven’t prepared anything formal. I thought it would be more valuable to just answer your questions.” This disrespects the audience and your hosts.
- Plan your story. Come up with clever introductions to your points and engaging personal examples that support your point of view. Go ahead and be a little provocative so you’ll catch people’s attention and make them think about what you’re saying.
- Don’t just wait your turn. Panels are more interesting when the panelists engage each other, not wait their turn. It’s stimulating when you introduce another viewpoint by saying “Let me add something to that idea” or “My experience has led me to a different conclusion”. It’s boring when all the panelists agree with each other.
- Involve the audience. Ask questions and for a show of hands or pose a problem to the audience to get them thinking.