5 ways to prepare to sit on a panel, by Virginia Rudnick
When I was invited to be a panelist at Mashable’s Social Media Day, with only ten days notice and having never participated as a panelist before – I have to admit: I was nervous. How would I prepare? What would be my resources? How would I make sure that I represented myself and my organization in the best light possible? While a situation like this can be stressful, here are the 5 things that worked for me:
- Scour your Linkedin network and find out who you know that participates in the greatest number of public/panel speaking events. I was lucky enough to have a former colleague who does a fair amount of panel speaking all over the country and she was able to jump on the phone with me which was a huge relief.
- Google it. When in doubt, there are always going to be interesting articles that pop up. My favorite was this one by Guy Kawasaki.
- When stressing about what to wear, my advice is always wear pants. You never know how high you are going to be sitting. Stage? Stool? Will the A/C in the venue be on full blast? (Probably). Best to play it safe and reach for the pants.
- Get to know your fellow panelists ahead of time. In my experience, the moderator typically schedules a quick prep call with everyone, but if that doesn’t happen make sure you take a few minutes with your fellow panelists before you take stage – This way you can get a feel for their personalities and play off each other while on stage. You want to entertain people while you are up there.
- Be yourself. Half of it is what you are saying, but the other half is how you say it. Speak with intent, but look like you’re having fun. That way people will actually pay attention to you and not be cruising Instagram instead.