For many academic and scientific panel discussions, it is not uncommon for the organization to publish a report that summarizes the key points, insights, and outcomes of a panel discussion. It serves as a record for participants and a resource for those who were unable to attend.
The panel discussion report format can have six sections that, depending on the extent of the discussion may be as brief or as detailed as desired:
Format of the Report
- Title: Title of the report, panel discussion title, location, date, and logo (if applicable).
- Table of Contents: An organized listing of the report sections for easy navigation.
- Introduction: Briefly introduce the panel discussion and its significance.
- Objective. Describe the purpose of the panel discussion
- Panelists. Names, titles, and affiliations of each panelist, along with a brief biography.
- Moderator. Name and background of the moderator, highlighting their role in guiding the discussion.
- Key Topics Discussed: Enumerate the main themes and topics covered during the panel.
- Summary of Each Panelist’s Views: Provide a concise summary of each panelist’s key points and perspectives.
- Audience Engagement: Summarize questions from the audience and the responses given by panelists.
- Conclusion and Key Takeaways: Highlight and/or summarize the major conclusions drawn and insights gained from the discussion.
- Recommendations or Actionable Steps: If applicable, include any recommendations or action steps proposed during the discussion.
- Appendices: Include any additional resources, bios, slides, documents, or materials referenced or shared during the panel.
- Contact Information: Provide contact details for further inquiries or follow-up actions.
Tips for Writing the Panel Discussion Report
- Clarity and Conciseness: Keep the report clear and to the point, avoiding unnecessary details. Don’t feel like you have to write a lot simply because it is a “report.”
- Accuracy: Ensure all information is accurate, especially names, titles, and key points made by the panelists. You may even want to run the draft past the moderator and panelists to ensure you have captured the essence of what they said and/or intended to say.
- Neutral Tone: Keep an unbiased and neutral tone throughout the report.
- Engaging Writing Style: Use an engaging style to keep the reader interested, especially in summarizing discussions.
- Visual Elements: Incorporate charts, graphs, or images – but only if they add value to the report.
- Proofreading: Thoroughly proofread the report for grammatical errors and factual inaccuracies. Run it through Grammarly. Then have another competent person proofread the report!
- Timeliness: Aim to complete and distribute the report shortly after the event to ensure its relevance. Integrate the publishing and distribution of the report with your social media strategy.
- Get Help. Some people are great at writing reports. Others….well, it’s a struggle. Consider using ChaptGPT or other AI platform to assist you. Take the transcript of the panel, along with these panel discussion report format guidelines and run it through ChatGPT. It will be a great starting point for your writing – NEVER the final product!
As ChaptGPT says, “An effective panel discussion report is a comprehensive, accurate, and engaging document that captures the essence of the panel discussion. It should serve as a valuable resource for attendees and those interested in the panel’s themes. By following these guidelines and tips, one can ensure the report is both informative and reflective of the depth of the discussion.”
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For more information about how to moderate a lively & informative 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.