How To Approach A Panel Speaking Opportunity


For any professional who has given a panel presentation in the past, you know that it can be an exciting opportunity. You get to share your expertise with a room full of potential clients and peers, and you get to chat with other experts about their respective fields. However, being on a panel is also different from speaking off the cuff or simply addressing an audience one-on-one: there are specific steps you need to take to ensure that your presentation goes smoothly and that you leave behind some memorable impressions for your audience members. Here’s what we recommend doing before, during, and after these types of events:

Before the event

  • Research the event, the panel, and the audience.
  • Prepare a short presentation.
  • Prepare a list of questions for the audience.

At the event

At the event:

  • Be prepared for the opportunity. If you’re going to be a panellist, it helps if you’ve done some research on what your topic area is and how that fits into the overall theme of the event. It may not be necessary to know every nuance of the business but having a general knowledge of what goes into making such an event happen will make you better equipped for answering questions from attendees and moderators alike.
  • Introduce yourself! This can be awkward—we get it! But remember that everyone else on stage with you has probably done this many times before, so they know what they’re doing (and they probably have great advice). Start off by saying something like “Hi everyone, my name is Kara and I work at Tzaneen Marketing Agency., in our marketing department where we focus on digital marketing strategies for small businesses…” By sharing this information up front, attendees have context when listening in on conversations throughout your panel discussion or presentation.
  • Ask questions from attendees! Asking questions during panels is key because it lets everyone see how engaged participants are actually being during presentations/discussions.

After the event

After the event, follow up with the organizers and other panellists. Send them a thank you note or email to let them know how much you enjoyed the experience. Participating in a panel is a great way to grow your network and build relationships.

Making the most of a panel speaking opportunity requires some thoughtful preparation and follow-up.

As with any speaking opportunity, the best way to make the most of your panel speaking experience is by preparing.

  • Give yourself time to prepare. This can be a big deal if you’re not used to talking in public. We recommend spreading out your research and preparation over at least two weeks so that you aren’t overwhelmed when it comes time for the event. You want to feel confident, but not overly confident—and this helps prevent that from happening!
  • Know what you will talk about: You should have an idea of what topics are included on the agenda before committing – and if there is flexibility around those topics (i.e., “We will go anywhere as long as it relates back to our overall goal for this event…), then great! But if there isn’t much wiggle room, don’t panic! Just be sure that whatever topic(s) come up during the conversation still fit within its larger framework. It’s also important not only know what subjects might arise organically during discussion but also prepare some backup ideas just in case something unexpected happens (like someone asks a question or brings up an issue that wasn’t previously planned).


Panel speaking is one of the best ways to get exposure for your company, but it’s also a lot of work. If you want to make the most of this opportunity, you need to think about how you’re going to approach it before, during and after the event.

Author: Hotel@

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