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the powerful panelist

I’m writing the next Powerful Panels book to answer panelists’ frequently asked questions. I would LOVE to hear the specific questions you have about being a panelist.

Here’s my list of questions and I’m building it as I get ideas. What am I missing? Anyone who contributes a new question will receive a digital copy of the book!

The Invitation

  • Why would they pick me?
  • Why should I say yes?
  • Can I expect to be paid? What about travel expenses?


  • Who briefs me?
  • When and how do they brief me, individually and/or with the other panelists?
  • What kind of research do I need to do?
  • What kind of preparation do I need to do? (talking points, examples, questions?)
  • How do I craft a meaningful and memorable nugget?
  • Do I need to do some practice/role playing?
  • Do I have to present something?
  • Do I have to put together a slideshow?
  • How do I flag topics I want to avoid or minimize?

Structure, Format, and Flow

  • Introductions
  • Moderator-curated questions
  • Audience Q&A
  • Other audience interaction
  • Closing call to action
  • Anything else we need to know?


  • What information does the meeting organizer/moderator need from me?
  • Staging – what do I need to know?
  • Where should I sit?
  • Microphones – can I ask for one? How do I talk in a handheld microphone
  • What do I bring?
  • What do I wear?
  • Virtual staging/lighting and sound – what do I need to know/do?
  • Remote panelist – what do I need to know/do?
  • What about slides? Can I use them? Any guidelines?

Meet Ups

  • Should I meet up with the meeting organizer, panel moderator and/or panelists?
  • Should I mingle with the audience before and/or after?

What to do/What not to do

  • Best practices?
  • Top 10 mistakes?
  • How to appropriately promote your book, product, company?
  • How to distinguish yourself/stand out?

Dealing with Concerns

  • How to calm my nerves!
  • I’m an introvert. How do I jump in the discussion?
  • What to do when it’s not great…

How to Create and Engage in the Conversation

  • How to bring in a controversial point of view?
  • How to disagree without being disagreeable?
  • How to connect with the audience (in-person and virtual)?
  • Ways to make my message memorable?
  • How to jump into the conversation?
  • How to encourage the audience to take action?

Answering Questions

  • How to answer the curveball/gotcha question?
  • How to build a bridge between the question and the answer?
  • Who do I answer to?

Following up

  • How to thank the meeting organizer, panel moderator and/or fellow panelists?
  • What if I want to be on more panels?

I’d love to hear your ideas of what needs to be in this definitive book for panelists on a panel discussion!

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.

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Kristin ArnoldKristin Arnold
KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CSP, CPF|Master has been facilitating meaningful conversations between executives and managers to make better decisions and achieve extraordinary results for 25+ years. She's a leading authority on moderating panel discussions and passionate about finding the perfect olive to complement a vodka martini.
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