I was having a Zoom chit-chat with a new LinkedIn colleague and as we were getting to know each other, he said, “You know what the worst thing is about panels?” I leaned into the camera and asked, “What is the worst thing about panel discussions?”
Frankly, I was surprised at his answer.
“Meeting organizers want big brands represented on the platform – and especially in heavily regulated industries (such as finance, energy), they can’t really say anything unless it’s been vetted by legal. So they all just say stuff we already know and agree with each other.”
Huh! Well, the legal requirement makes sense to the panelists, but not to the audience because all they see is the resulting behaviors. My new friend added, “I went to a panel recently as I was intrigued by the topic. I fell asleep halfway through.”
So here’s the deal, my panelists who come from heavily regulated industries (or super vigilant businesses…), you need to super prepare for this panel. You don’t want people to walk away with nothing, or worse, fall asleep during the discussion!
Just to summarize my post on preparation – with a super-regulated twist!
Finally, run it all past the legal team. Which of course, means you have to do a lot more work than you probably signed up for. BUT if you want to make this an outstanding, powerful panel, you gotta do the work!
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.