As you get known for knowing your stuff, you’ll find that you’ll get invited to be a member of a discussion panel. These can be held at conventions, town halls, employee meetings, training programs and a variety of other functions.
Many think these are an easy way to ease into public speaking, for you are not standing there on stage all by yourself. But, because you’ll be sharing the stage with others … and more than likely one or more of them will have a strong, take-charge personality … there is an art to being an effective panelist. Use these strategies to leverage your spot on the panel into an opportunity to provide good information and communicate your personal brand.
Control your introduction.
Be sure to give the moderator or person introducing the panel a concise, accurate introduction. Don’t leave this up to fate!
Just because you aren’t the center of attention, doesn’t mean you can slack off. Arrive on time. Stay until the end. Pay attention to what other panelists are saying. Act engaged. Make sure you understand a question before rambling off an answer that could make no sense.
When you are invited to be a member of a panel, make sure you know the topic so you can adequately prepare. Figure out what questions members of the audience are likely to ask and prepare answers for them. Round up some relevant stories that are related to the topic. Prepare some good sound bytes that will help you be a memorable member of the panel.