Inviting a friend to attend your panel discussion is a great idea – just check with the meeting organizer first! There may be some reason why you can’t (maybe they are at the max number of people in the room, the event is exclusive, or they don’t want to have to feed another mouth….).
In the event they say yes, having a friend or two in the room can be super helpful. Just be clear that they are there to support YOU (as they may have their own agenda and completely forget about why you invited them to come along!)
Here are a few ways your friends can help you be successful during a panel discussion:
- Be Your Cheerleader. You’ll have one or two smiling, familiar faces out in the audience. If you’re nervous, remember that they are there cheering you on!
- Take Pictures. Even though many events have their own camera team to take photos, by the time you get them (if you get them, even when promised), they will be stale for use on social media. Furthermore, the camera team isn’t focused on YOU, so the pictures may not be any good anyway! Have your friends take some photos of you:
- Speaking on the panel, conversing with a fellow panelist, with ALL of the panelists, with EACH panelist, with the panel moderator, with all of the panelists AND the moderator, chatting with audience members after the panel is over
- Anything else that catches their eye! (e.g. use of a prop, an unusual gesture, laughing…)
- Take Video. Unless you are working with a huge audience in a large room with a meeting organizer that has a sizeable budget in the face-to-face world, you will probably NOT have the session recorded. Of course, if it is done remotely, you should get access to the recording. Have your friends get some video footage of you in action. Get a few of these videos and you can put a montage video together that can serve as a demonstration of your expertise as a panelist!
- Post on Social. Have your friends post during the panel, using the meeting hashtag and joining in the social conversation. You can also inform your friends who can’t be there to follow and share the posts.
Panelist Do’s and Don’ts
How Panelists Can Help with Promoting the Panel Discussion
Prepare to Be a Brilliant Panelist with These Steps
For more information about how to moderate a lively & informative leadership panel discussion, check out our free 7-part video series on how to moderate a panel and other resources to help you organize, moderate, or be a panel member.