Negosentro | Creating an Expert Panel Event: A Guide | Conferences can get a lot of value from a well-planned and organized panel discussion. To ensure that your panel is a success you need to plan well. It can take a lot of work to organize and run a panel, but the more work that you put into the planning stage, the more likely that you will be the talk of the conference. The goal is to make your panel a seamless event that provides real value to your audiences. That will only be achieved by making the right choices regarding guests, moderators, and the best ways to use your panel to establish brand awareness. Here are six steps to take that will transform the impact of your panel.
Have a Panel Objective
Never plan a panel discussion simply because you think it needs to be done. Many events host a panel as nothing more than filler, but this is a wasted opportunity to provide real value to attendees. Identify your objectives and evaluate those goals against other events and contributions. If time is limited, it may even be better to avoid panels altogether rather than simply host one for the sake of it.
This is the single most important component of your panel. The right moderator can control and enthuse the guests and the panel while ensuring that everything is kept under control. Identify the best possible option for the moderator and ensure that they are suitable for the discussion subject and the guests themselves.
You should think very carefully about who is going to sit on the panel. This is easier once you know the discussion subject. Look at those guests with a unique perspective or who have proven success in the subjects being discussed. You should also decide how many panelists to have: too many means that nobody gets to go in-depth into any subject, too few and the moderator might struggle to keep discussions going for a long period.
There are some basic essentials that you’re going to need, and the bigger the event the more you will need to spend. Microphones, lights, and enough auditorium seating (for the audience and the guests) are vital, but you should also think about your branding options. Backdrops and stage furniture can not only help make your panel look more professional, but it can also be an additional promotion option for your sponsors. Look at this guide by biz2credit.com about how a business line of credit can help you with costs.
The last thing that you want is for your moderator to fall off the stage as they walk around, so make sure that you run a risk analysis on your stage and auditorium. While you want to focus on the content and value of your panel discussion, you should never overlook the need for a clear focus on participant safety.
The Importance of Time
You only have a limited amount of time to get your messages across in a panel, so you need to make the most of it. Establish set timelines for specific parts of the panel, and ensure that they are rigidly enforced. If your panelists are given 60 seconds for introductions, prevent them from going over or you’re reducing valuable audience question time at the latter end of the panel.
Debates and discussions in the panel format have always been popular, but mistakes can happen. Always do more planning and preparation than you think is necessary, and it is more likely that your panel will be a success.