Speaking on a Panel

10 Tips for Confidently Speaking on a Panel: How to Prepare and Deliver

Preparing to speak on a panel can be exciting  yet also can be a daunting task particularly if it is your first time, but with the right approach, you can feel confident and well-prepared for your presentation. Here are some tips to help you prepare for your panel discussion:

  1. Research the Topic: Before you speak  on a panel, you wan to ensure you  have a solid understanding of the Panel topic . Research the topic thoroughly and make sure you understand the key issues, arguments, and perspectives. This will help you to form your own ideas and opinions and not only contribute meaningfully to the discussion but also stand out on the Panel , knowone likes a Panel Speaker who is not prepared around the topic.
  2. Get your Detective on and Check Out the other panelists:  Its always great to check into who the other panelists  are , understand their expertise and don't be afraid to connect with them . It will give you some insight on how they may approach the Panel Focus Topic .
  3. Prepare your talking points: Once you have a solid understanding of the topic and the other panelists, you can start preparing your key talking points. Identify any  key points you want to make and practice delivering them always aiming to be as  clear and concise as possible. 
  4. Practice your delivery: Practice is key when it comes to any speaking and that also applies for a   panel. Rehearse your talking points and delivery in front of a mirror / with a friend or even join a speaking circle . This will help you to become more comfortable with your material and tweak any changes you want to make.   Don't be afraid to  use hand gestures and body language to enhance your message and if you can weave in a story .. thats a bonus because stories connect the audience to you and the message.
  5. Anticipate questions: Think about some of the  types of questions you may be asked caution don't overthink it , just have an idea and consider how you may answer it . Don't get too hung up on that because trust the knowledge is already within you and what comes out on the day is meant to come out .
  6. Put your Confidence Cape On: I always suggest to dress  in your confidence cape , what ever  makes you feel confident don't try and dress up as someone your not .. people will know because well you know ... always consider that your Confidence Cape  aligns with how you want to represent your personal and professional brand . 
  7. Be open to other perspectives: Remember that a panel discussion is a conversation among experts, and that everyone has a unique perspective. Be open to hearing different opinions and be prepared to engage in respectful dialogue. One way to do this is through acknowledging the other speaker for their insights and then add yours ... For Example " Anne I can understand your ideas on this matter, I would also like to add ... " then add yours this shows you respectfully acknowledge and see and hear them and also contribute your ideas.
  8. Be punctual: Get to the venue well before the event is scheduled to start, this will give you time to relax and mentally prepare yourself do any of your pre stage rituals . It is also a sign of respect to be punctual and not to keep the other panelists and the audience waiting. This is also a great opportunity to introduce yourself to the host if you have not yet met them and familiarise yourself with the energy in the room.
  9. Its Okay to bring copies of your notes: Bring copies of your notes with you to the panel discussion, this will help you to stay on track and refer to your talking points if needed. There is nothing wrong with notes ... besides you may also take down some notes from the other panelists and or if someone wants to connect with you , you have a place to make a note from that .
  10. Be Yourself: Lastly, be yourself. Speak in your own voice, use your own words and be true to yourself. This will help you to feel more comfortable and confident during the panel discussion, and will also make you more relatable to the audience.

By following these tips, you can prepare to speak on a panel with confidence. Remember, the key is to be well-prepared and to practice your delivery, know your topic and don't be afraid to engage in the conversation . With the right approach, you can contribute meaningfully to the discussion and make a positive impression on the audience and the other panelists.