So You’ve Been Selected to Speak on a Panel…Now What?

The leaves are starting to turn. CVS started selling Halloween candy a month ago. OMMA Global and Advertising Week are right around the corner.

With the number of industry conferences occurring during the fall months, panel presentations are on everyone’s minds. But you can rest easy — the DGC team has pulled together a list of tips for delivering a fail-proof panel presentation:

  1. Prepare. There is nothing worse than going into a presentation knowing what you want to talk about, and then getting there and having trouble finding the words. Prepare at least three short, compelling points on the subject ahead of time that can be dropped into the discussion at any time.
  2. Dress the part. Mark Zuckerberg may be able to get away with wearing jeans and flip-flops to his presentations, but he is also worth more than $19 billion. If you want to make a good first impression, put your best foot forward.
  3. Repeat the question. Reporters at these conferences are always looking for good quotes to include in their stories, and it helps when those quotes have context. So, remember to always repeat the question at the beginning of your answer.
  4. Be concise. Is a reporter more likely to include a one-sentence quote that packs a lot of punch or a paragraph-long ramble? You do the math.
  5. Drop the “umm.” It’s distracting and it makes you sound insecure. Speak clearly, maintain eye-contact and prove to your audience that you believe in what you’re talking about.

So, you’ve prepared your key points and you’re doing your best Don Draper impression. You couldn’t feel more ready as you step onto that stage and look out at the dozens—no hundreds…wow, how many people are here? As the stage fright sinks in, you realize it’s the only thing for which you haven’t prepared. But never fear!

DGC has a sixth tip for that, as well: if you get nervous, you can always picture the audience in their underwear.

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Posted on September 23, 2011, in Speaking and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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