People think speaking on a panel is easy, and sure I guess it can be. But if you really wanna “rock da house,” leave an impression and get invited to speak again, you best get prepared! Personally, from a presenter’s perspective, I’ve experienced both good panels and bad ones. On the first, I was fortunate enough to have a standing relationship with my co-panelists (I was very familiar with who they were and the work they were doing). Needless to say, each of us were very well prepared. Unlike another panel wherein neither of us knew each other till the day of the event (heck we didn’t even know who the moderator was). This was poor organization on the conference organizer’s part in my opinion (well, some fault was our own too I suppose). At the end of the day, I know we could have done a much better job which leads me to the point of this post: come prepared and ready to rock-n’-roll! You conference attendees expect nothing less from you…
- Know your session material: what’s the objective of the session? Be able to identify key takeaways for attendees and know your material well enough so that it doesn’t look like you’re searching for the answer (folks are paying money to attend your little shindig of a session, they’re paying for your expertise, so give it to ‘em).
- Know your panelists: what’s their background? What are they doing and what have they done? It would be wise to get on the phone with your co-panelists to get a feel for one another (and your individual presentations styles) before your session.
- Practice makes perfect: try to identify the kinds of questions your moderator is going to ask you (a good moderator will send you some questions ahead of time). Practice so that you can deliver quick and ready responses. Again, nothing sucks more than staring at the ceiling in search for an answer. But give a quick response, and bam, you rock!
- How To Kick Butt On A Panel by Guy Kawasaki – this post offers some EXCELLENT step-by-step advice for getting prepared. Read it, study it, and execute the steps.
- Why panel sessions suck (and how to fix them) by Scott Berkun – This post is from a work in progress, a book by Scott Berkun titled “Confessions of A Public Speaker” (definitely looking forward to reading the finished product). It offers an excellent look at the kinds of things that go wrong with panels and then offers some very constructive advice for avoiding the bad and delivering a good session.
- How to prevent the pitiful panel by Edward Boches – nothing sucks more than a boring panel. This post offers some all around good advice to you as a panelist, moderator and attendee.
Over to you…
Have you presented on a panel before? What advice can you offer to panelists for delivering a good session? As an attendee, what do you expect from a presenter? Come now, what say you?!
Great points! I just participated in my first panel last month. It had it's ups and downs, but was a really good learning experience for me. I think I did well (and the attendees agreed) and I'm really excited about possibly participating in panels in the future.
I always thought speaking in front of people would be scary, but if you know your topic, it is really invigorating and fun. Nothing like the oral reports you had to give in school about the mating season of ducks (or whatever topic) that you knew nothing about.
Ricardo Bueno says
Michele: I'm sure you did great! (Remember, we are always our own worst critic). If it's something that you're passionate about, go for it. For me, it helps to rehearse my stories (I've gotten better at story-telling).
It is exhilarating! Every now and again, for that brief moment, you get butterflies, but once you get goin', it rocks!
Congratulations on the panel and cheers to many, many more to come!