09. February 2016 · Comments Off on Following Guy Kawasaki’s Tips on Being on a Panel · Categories: Uncategorized

Recently I was invited to participate in a panel discussion at a conference:

Guy Kawasaki has some tips on how to “Rock the Panel” in his book Art of the Start 2.0. These are worth sharing and they are helping guide me with my panel presentation.

Being a panel participant is harder than being a solo speaker. The two main reasons this is so are as follows. First, you cannot control the tempo of the discussion which you can easily do if you are making your own speech. Second, you get much less air time because you are sharing the discussion among several panel speakers.

Pages 210 to 212 provide some practical tips on how to ace the panel.

What is your main goal with being a panel speaker? I like Kawasaki’s goal of being the person on the panel that everybody wants to talk to after the panel is over.

How do you do this?

  1. Know the subject that the panel will be discussing. If you do not know the subject then decline the invitation to be on the panel.


  1. Control your introduction. Do not assume that the moderator has your up to date biography. Before the panel starts make sure the moderator introduces you properly. Kawasaki suggests handing the moderator a three sentence biography to read verbatim.


  1. Speak Up. This means getting close to the microphone and making sure your voice projects to the audience. Kawasaki recommends that you “make love to the microphone.”


  1. Entertain, don’t just inform. As Kawasaki says, “The funnier you are the more people will think you’re smart because it takes intelligence to be funny.”


  1. Tell the truth, especially when the truth is obvious. Work on being funny and a straight shooter. Kawasaki, phrases this as “The truth will get you glee.”


  1. Answer the question that’s posed, but don’t limit yourself to it. After quickly answering the question take the conversation in the direction that you want it to go.


  1. Be plain, simple, and short. Avoid a lot of jargon when you are speaking. Kawasaki says, “Reduce the most complex and technical issues to something plain, simple, and short, and you’ll stand out.”


  1. Fake interest. Look engaged in listening to other panelists even when it may be difficult to do so. Forgo checking email or playing with your phone while the other panelists are speaking.


  1. Never look at the moderator. The audience does not want to see the side of your head which is what happens when you look at the moderator. Speak directly to the audience.


  1. Never say, “I agree with the previous panelist”. Kawasaki suggests saying, “I think that question has been answered. For the audience’s sake, let’s move on.”

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