Panel Discussion Masterclass: for both moderators and panelists | Treena Nairne and Angela Cheung | Skillshare

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Panel Discussion Masterclass: for both moderators and panelists

teacher avatar Treena Nairne and Angela Cheung, Turning work from scary to simple

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

25 Lessons (1h 30m)
    • 1. Introduction To The Course

    • 2. The Many Good Things That Will Happen If You Say Yes To A Panel

    • 3. What To Ask The Organizer: Smart Questions

    • 4. Smart Research: The Sponge Stage

    • 5. Smart Research: The Sieve Stage

    • 6. The Shaping Stage: Make Your Messages Memorable

    • 7. The Basic Components of a Panel Discussion

    • 8. Optional Panel Components: Moderators - try these!

    • 9. Moderator Prep: The Fast Track

    • 10. The Art Of Moderating

    • 11. How To Open Your Panel Session (for Moderators)

    • 12. Curtain Up: Getting People On Stage

    • 13. How To Introduce Your Panelists (for Moderators)

    • 14. Foolproof Self-Introductions

    • 15. Our Golden List of Panel Questions

    • 16. Answering Questions with Ease

    • 17. How To Politely Shut Someone Up

    • 18. How To End

    • 19. BONUS: Virtual (video) Panels

    • 20. A Prep Checklist For Moderators

    • 21. A Handy Checklist For The Big Day

    • 22. Dealing With Nerves, Body Language and Delivery

    • 23. BONUS: Using Social Media to Make the Most of your Appearance

    • 24. BONUS: How to find speaking opportunities

    • 25. THE END! Wow. You. Did. It

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About This Class

Welcome to this panel discussion masterclass. This course covers everything you need to know, learn and do to ace your next panel discussion - whether you're the moderator or the panelist, a newbie or a pro.

We'll cover: 

  • How to prepare: a step-by-step guide
  • How to brief your panelist: how should that first email and follow-up call go?¬†
  • How to introduce yourself (and your panelists)
  • How to take your messages to the next level: memorable soundbites that will wow the audience
  • How to deal with nerves
  • How to handle virtual (video) panels which are going to be more and more popular post-Covid19
  • Delivery tips, tips on handling nerves¬†
  • How to find speaking opportunities¬†
  • How to maximize your appearance: going big on social media
  • Checklists for prep, and for the big day itself
  • Cut-and-paste emails and openers you can just use straightaway to save time
  • ...and a ton more!

This course is taught by experienced (ex-Disney, ex-HSBC/EY/journalist) speakers and trainers who are total introverts and have had to learn everything themselves from the ground up! We'll give you all the building blocks you need to make sure you're amazing at your next panel and get invited back. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Treena Nairne and Angela Cheung

Turning work from scary to simple


Hello, we are Treena and Angela. Together, we run UPSKILLHQ. We turn your work challenges from scary to simple. And what could be better than that!

We're both corporate escapees (ex-HSBC, Disney, EY, Fremantle) who love learning stuff and then teaching it to others. A student once called us "professional simplifiers" because we always make our courses practical, easy-to-follow with lots of actual examples you can use straightaway.

Thanks for checking out our profile, hope you check out our courses too!

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1. Introduction To The Course: Hi, I'm Angela, and I'm Treena. Really honored to hang out with you and teach you how to bedazzle your audience at your next panel discussion, whether you are the moderator or the panelist. This course will be useful no matter what level you're coming at, if you're a beginner feeling nervous and don't know where to start, or you've been doing it a while and you're looking for some fresh ideas. Agree or disagree. Disagree. Do you have anything else for us? Yeah. Be obnoxious. Moderators, here is a useful way to think about your role. One of my biggest fails came early in my journalism career. More panels are going virtual these days. The entire discussion is conducted online. (laughter) We'll be covering everything you need block-by-block because once you have the essential building blocks, how to prepare, some go-to questions, techniques on what to do if you blank out, a couple of zinger soundbites, then you'll have all the fundamentals and the confidence that you need. You'll be able to put your hand up for any conference, because you've now got an organized and efficient prep plan, and mental models to shape your message. You can just get to it. You can follow the system in full confidence because you know that it works. Now you'll have a step-by-step plan, some cut-and-paste emails, you can just go ahead and use, plus our golden list of panelist answers that has never let us down. Acing your next panel discussion, it's a 100 percent learnable skill. We know because we've had to teach ourselves from the ground up. If you follow this practical course, complete the simple action steps along the way, and commit to giving it your all, you've got this. Let's begin. 2. The Many Good Things That Will Happen If You Say Yes To A Panel: Let's kick things off by thinking about your WHY. You may have been asked to put your hand up for a panel discussion by your boss or someone else, what you really want to make sure this is really worthwhile for you. Take a little time right now to consider. What's in it for you? Why do you want to appear on a panel? You want to have a clear sense of purpose because then you'll have something specific to aim for. I love this quote by the futurist Alvin Toffler,'' You've got to think about the big things while you're doing the small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction''. Let's help you out with possible reasons. Why take part in a panel? It can get you noticed, it earns you credibility, it feels good. On a practical level, there are more slots for panelists versus speakers at a typical event. There's less preparation required than being the keynote speaker and there's the chance you could get paid as well. After all, as the saying goes, your network creates your net worth. You can build your network significantly by raising your profile at events. This is your first action step. You need a pen and a piece of paper. Write down why you want to appear on a panel. Give yourself two minutes to do this. There's no need to overthink this or make it too complicated. I'm going to play some music as you consider this and I'll flash some other potential prompts on the screen. Go ahead and write down some reasons. {jazz music} 3. What To Ask The Organizer: Smart Questions: If you want to find speaking opportunities, that's covered in another video. What we're talking about now is when you've already been invited to join a panel discussion, either as a moderator or a panelist. Depending on the event, you may need to talk to the event organizer to get all the information you need. First, there are the basic questions. These will often come into speaker kit or email. But if you don't receive one, ask, what's the date, time, and duration of the panel discussion? What time do you expect me to arrive and where do I go? Is there any dress code? Is there anything I need to provide beforehand, such as a photo, bio or any forms? Do you have any specifications on the photo size or bio length? Then you want to know about the panel topic and goals. It's best if you can discuss this face to face or over the phone rather than via email. Remember, this is about giving value to your audience. So you need to know what's important to them and how your panel fits into the overall event. You ask, what's the overall theme and goals for the event? What is the topic and goals for the panel discussion? Who's the audience? Try to find out as much as you can. How much do they know about the topic? What's important for them? Why did you invite me? What's expected of me? What do you want me to bring to this panel? For example, do you want me to cover the legal aspects of this discussion or do you want me to talk about the future or provide a counterargument? Who else is on the panel? Why were they invited? What's expected of them? The organizer may not have a detailed answer for some of these questions, and that's okay. Next, ask about the panel format. This may be something your moderator will work out later or your brainstorm together. Do I need to introduce myself, if so, for how long? Do the panels need to give an opening statement, and if so for how long? Will there be slides, if so, do I need to provide these and is there a template I need to work from? Will there be a pre-panel call or gathering? If one hasn't been planned, then it's a good idea to request a call with the moderator and preferably the other panelists too. Here's some additional questions to ask if you're the moderator. Is there a set panel format? If so, what is it? If not, what can I change in terms of the panel format? For example, can I change the way the panelists are introduced on the stage or add some game elements or some additional audience interaction? Can I have the contact details of the panelists so I can prepare with them? Are there any specific things I need to mention or do? For example, do I need to thank a sponsor or organize a photo moment with the panelists, or present gifts, or introduce the next session? Will I be introduced by the MC? Because if you're not, you might want to prepare your own introduction. Can I do a technical check beforehand? That is, checking stage setup, testing the microphone, and if needed, the slide clicker or teleprompter? If yes, and they should say yes, let me know when and the contact details of the relevant person. Here's a simple action step for this section. Set up a call with the event organizer to go through these questions. To set this up, just send them an email. It should only take you a minute, even less if you use our email template. 4. Smart Research: The Sponge Stage: Let's talk about research. Researching the smart way, the efficient way. Of course it depends how much you know about the topic in the first place. But you'll find that the more panels you do, the more successful you are, the more you'll be invited to speak on topics that you might not consider yourself to be an expert in. There is three stages to the research. One, the sponge stage, you're soaking up information and ideas. Two, the sieve stage, you're filtering the information with a clear cut objective in mind. Then the shaping stage. Here you're shaping your thoughts into notable quotables, those golden nuggets of wisdom that you might end up using. Stage 1, the sponge stage. This is the moment you said yes to that panel discussion. Even though it might be weeks or months away, do a few days of research straight away. I do 30 minutes every morning over breakfast. There's a couple of reasons why I do this as soon as possible. First, there is a psychological effect. It feels great to have gotten started. Otherwise you're writing, "prepare for panel discussion" on your to-do list, and it just sits there nagging at your subconscious. Second, you kicking in your reticular activating system into gear. That's a group of nerves in your brain stem that filters out unnecessary inputs and focuses on what matters to you. That's why when someone says to you a blue t-shirt, you'll suddenly noticed blue t-shirts everywhere. So you want to introduce the panel discussion topic into your brain as soon as possible, because you will naturally start picking up on it in conversations and noticing articles and videos about it too. So 30 casual minutes over breakfast for four days. Day 1, google the title of your overall event that your panel is a part of and watch one or two related videos or read a write-up. You're looking for that overall sense of a vibe. Is it formal, casual? What's the audience mix? I would also read up on the upcoming events. The agenda, theme, topics, speakers. You don't need to take detailed notes, you're just getting a feel. Day 2, google the names of your panelists, if you have that information, and read up on them. Their backgrounds, specialty, and what they said in the past about the panel topic. Day 3 and 4, this is when you can start to think about the panel topic itself. You watch a couple of related videos, you read a couple of articles, and you note basic facts, predicted trends, what's surprising or interesting. I'll just cut and paste anything interesting into my phone or into a document. During the sponge stage, you're also thinking about your view on the topic, what you know, what you can contribute to the panel discussion. Allow random thoughts to pop into your head and just write them down. Have a few casual conversations with friends or colleagues, note anything interesting that might come up. For example, any questions they might ask. Quite often it's when I'm telling a colleague, "Ugh, I have this panel discussion coming up." They'll come up with a zinger of a question that I never would have thought of. It's this, this is the magical part of this process. It's in this relax mode that the best insights and opinions often comes through. Now that's the sponge stage. If there's any specific date or input you think you're going to need. For example, you might need some performance figures from your research and development department. This is a good time to send out that email, nice and early. Let them know your request. After that, because we're all busy with other things to do, just get on with your life because something magical is happening in the background. You feel that you've made a great start and you're gathering thoughts and they're just percolating, stewing in the back of your brain. This is a very useful and productive period. 5. Smart Research: The Sieve Stage: You've been soaking up bits and pieces of information related to your topic. You've traded ideas with friends and combined your own muse and knowledge. There's a lot of material swirling around your head. Let's make something of it. You're going to sieve through the information to get to the good stuff. First of all, take a deep breath and remember, you don't have to be the world's number one authority on the subject. There's only a limited amount of time in a panel discussion. It isn't a 50,000 word thesis. You just need two or three interesting key points. Remember, our guiding principle, create value for your audience. As you go through your notes, ask yourself, is this important for the audience to know? What do you want them to think, feel, and do? Let's consider what you want your audience to think. Do they need an understanding of the present situation? Do you need to start with a few basic facts? What's new, original, or interesting in this field? What are the problems your audience is struggling with? What are the opportunities for them? What's the future going to look like? What are their current assumptions about this topic? Could you bust a couple of misconceptions? Would you like to change their minds, persuade them to look at the subject in a different way or from another angle? Is there something that might resonate with your specific audience? Let's say you're doing a panel for a group of lawyers in Manchester. Is there a fact or story that might resonate for them in particular? You could say, "Did you know that right here in Manchester, there is one lawyer for every 580 people?" Why can't you find any new clients? A good one. Can you create any sit up straight moments when the audience has a big aha or goes, "What? " If it doesn't come to you right now, don't worry, we can work on that later. When we think about what we want our audience to do, I think it just helps to be insanely useful and actionable, but people can just think it through step-by-step. The more specific you can get, it usually is better for you. Just as important, and this is something that moderators and panelists often forget to bear in mind. What do you want your audience to feel? The answer is not I want them to feel bored, it comes back to creating value. Do you want to move them emotionally? Maybe you have a touching or a funny personal story. I think it's a cancer researcher who told the story about being thanked by patient's family for treatments and how that actually made her cry with frustration, because she felt she was only putting off the inevitable and not providing a cure. It's a story with a bit of surprise, a bit of emotion, and it took an otherwise very dry presentation and made it memorable. Do you want to shock them, surprise them, delight, or disgust them? Over the course of a discussion, the emotions don't always have to be positive. You can get people feeling outraged about something that can often follow them up to take action, or if it is a difficult topic and they're not happy about it, is it possible to give them some hope? Take some time now to sieve through your notes or worksheet. We'll make it quick and easy for you. Go through your notes and select around five points each for what you want your audience to think, do, or feel. 6. The Shaping Stage: Make Your Messages Memorable: Hey, Ming. I'm okay. How are you? It's Angela and Trina here. Hey, you guys. Hey, we're filming that panel discussion workshop thing. Yeah. Well, you're an amazing panelists, so I just wanted to ask you, do you have any advice for us? Yeah. Definitely speak in soundbites, which means use less words. Good piece of advice. Do you have anything else for us? Yeah. Be obnoxious. Be obnoxious? Yes. Be obnoxious. Love this section. This is my fave. This is where you can take your messages from "meh" to "memorable". You've done your research and your prep, and you've decided what you want to say. This is the time to craft how you're going to say it. How can you wow the audience with a zinger sound bites that are going to get you invited back. We have lots of usable examples coming up and there's a handy PDF that comes with this video. Pick a few that look interesting and try them out. If you nail this for your panel discussion, you can do this for any public speaking. We're going to turn your key points into striking soundbites that are memorable, shareable, and or actionable. Have you ever seen Oprah Winfrey interviewing a celebrity? I love Oprah. The celebrity will say something notable and Oprah immediately looks at the camera and says,"That's tweetable everyone. Tweet. Tweet." She's encouraging the audience to share it. That's where you're trying to get to. A soundbite so good that people will want to talk about it and share it. That's when you know you've given people value for their time. By the way, as we're talking through these, know that any of these can work in any part of a panel discussion. In your opening remarks, answering a question, or even in your closing. Let's start with a couple of slightly controversial ones. As our friend, Ming, says, be obnoxious. That's how you'll be remembered. Now, of course, Ming is being slightly tongue-in-cheek. She's a popular panelists and you'd never describe her as obnoxious. But it is true that you'll stand out far more if you express your opinion very strongly. My other friend, Jane, also an amazing panelists, she once said, "I'm sick of think tanks. How about some do tanks?" The audience around there, they just immediately sat up straight. That's the wow moment they're looking for. A strong opinion, powerfully expressed. I attend a lot of startup conferences and you hear this all the time on panels. "Fail-first. Fail often." 'You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take." Now, fail-first, it isn't about piece of advice, but it's been said a million times before at conferences like this. It's become a cliché. You won't be quoted, you won't be remembered for being the millionth person to say it. Then, I heard Marc Andreessen, he's that hugely successful VC guy. He was talking about this fail fast culture. He said, "Fail first is gotten completely out of hand. I'm old school, how about succeeding?" So he took that startup cliché and he turned it on his head by taking opposing view. Another great example I heard recently was the speaker Victor at a Hong Kong start-up. He got in front of a room full of bankers and said, "No one in this room understands money." This is to a room full of people who are used to hearing that they are the experts. You can bet it made everybody sit up to hear how he was going to back up that statement. I was filming once with David Hasslehoff. For our younger viewers, David Hasslehoff used to star and produce a popular '90s TV show called Baywatch. I asked him how he sustained the success of Baywatch over the so many seasons. He leaned over at me, he's super tall. He said in this really low voice, "When the ratings are low, a cast member must go." I've remembered that advice ever since because it's so catchy. So how do you make things catchy? You could try and make things rhyme. "Make it better. Hold it together." "If you put in the prep, you're all set." I often use one of those many rhyming dictionaries that you can find online, they really help with this. Another way to be catchy is to repeat one or two words. Steve Jobs, of course, of Apple, "Stay hungry. Stay foolish." "One day or day one, you decide." Charlie Munger, "To find a worthy mate, be a worthy mate." The British scientists, Matt Walker, "The shorter you sleep, the shorter your life." Basically, if you can picture it as a slogan on a T-shirt, it's probably memorable. Here is another good one to make your audience sit up. Make them actually sit up or stand up. Involve the audience. If you interact with the audience, it puts focus and energy back to that side of the room. You can ask a question. "Audience, how many of you would like to work a three-day week? Stand up if you would, and keep standing up if you'd be willing to take a 40% pay cut to do so." Or I might turn to the audience and say, "Turn to your neighbor and tell them in just three words, 'If you had a magic wand, you could fix anything about your job, what would you do?' " Another way to get the audience buzzing is to hand them a quick win, really early on. For example, "I'm going to tell you how to save hundreds of hours in three simple steps." Immediately, you've made them feel that the time they're spending with you is paid off. Antithesis. Now antithesis is just a fancy word for opposite. You can package your message using direct opposites, hot-cold, complicated-easy, good-bad, near and far. Using an antithesis is one of my go-to shortcuts, believe it or not, because they're really easy to create, but somehow they sound really deep and meaningful. For example, I once introduced Trina by saying, "This is Trina. Now, she may be small but her ideas are big." I did. That's how I introduced her. Here's a few other examples. Dr. Seuss, "Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple." Stephen Hawking, "We are very, very small, but we are profoundly capable of very, very big things." Old Dolly, "I may look fake, but I'm real where it counts." "Close your open door policy." So for this workshop, I might say when it comes to making an impression on a panel, shorter messages stick longer. "Those who tell stories rule the world." We human beings, we're wired to think and remembering stories. One study showed that a story is 22 times more memorable than a fact alone. You could think of a personal story, an incident from your childhood that your family and old friends are always telling about you. Was there a lesson in there that might be valuable for the audience? I heard a speaker recently talk about his startup and his story about the origin of the company started with a photo of three little boys sitting on the floor with a Game Boy from the 1980s. The three little boys were the speaker and his co-founders, his younger brother and his cousin. People loved it. They all went, "Aw", when they saw the photos. He told me later that investors love that story because it shows that the three of them had stuck together their whole lives. They're not just business partners, they are family. It makes investors feel more comfortable that they're going to continue to stick together even through any challenges to their business. Keep your stories concise, no rambling. Be clear on the point you're making about the story and stick to it. Let's briefly go through a few more tricks. These three come from an excellent article called, The Greatest Sales Deck I've Ever Seen, by Andy Raskin. Name a big, relevant shift in the world, show there will be winners and losers, tease the promised land. The reason why these grab people's attention, it scares the audience into thinking, "If I don't make a change, I am going to get left behind." "Companies who don't manage their data securely will be extinct in 20 years. Companies that will win in the long run, they put every step in place to protect their user's data." Super powerful. Here's a few more. Pose an interesting question. One with an answer that will surprise your audience or give them a challenge. What's the most beneficial emotion to have if you want to be wealthy? What's the most common lie an employee says? When people are asked what's the meaning of life, what do you think is the most common answer? Find a striking fact or a data point. "Ninety-four percent of today's college students have reported a sense of overwhelm." Refer to something topical. "This morning's headline in The New York Times sums up why we must act now." Adopt a metaphor. "Management is like being a kid, you ask a ton of annoying questions, people are always telling you you only have five more minutes, and you run around until you really need a nap." Dispel myths. "A recent study has shown that having children does not make you happier." So now you have some great ways to level up your messaging. Take a look at our PDF, take a look at your notes, experiment with a few. Some might sound a bit cheesy at first and if you're not too sure, try them out with trusted colleagues or friends. You'll know you've got something good by the reaction that they give you. 7. The Basic Components of a Panel Discussion: Let's look at the components that make up a panel discussion. For moderators, this is particularly important for you. We'll show you the standard format and then some optional extras. A standard panel consists of the opening welcome, introductions to the topic and the panelists, panelists' initial comments. The panel discussion itself, questions from the audience, final words with each of the panelists. Then some close, such as a thank you, call to action, gifts, and a photo moment. Optional components might be a quiz or a dame, some audience interactivity such as a poll, reading out comments from Twitter or other social media. Questions submitted earlier, a hot seat or something else. We'll get into the optional elements in another video. For a 60 minute panel discussion, this might be how the timing go. I finished a little earlier. Conferences often run late and the organizers love it If you're a moderator that can keep to time. Now Trina, when you're the moderator, when it comes to devising the format, how do you go about it? Well, first of all, there's no such thing as a proper format. When I moderate and let's say my panel discussion's on day two, I'll watch the panels on day one. I might switch it up a bit, introduce the panelists in a different way. It's good to pattern interrupt sometimes. Make the audience go. This one's going to be different. Yes, I always put the basic structure in first, setting up the topic, introducing the panelists, the panel discussion, the Q&A's, I think about how long I'll need for those. Only after that, I'll consider adding one or two extras. I'll always run it by my panelists before hand. Definitely. Once you've practiced as a moderator, you can switch things up on the day. If the energy seems to be lagging, I"ll move into the Q&A sooner, or I'll throw in a quick Polo game. You're having some flexibility is always a good idea. Ultimately, don't feel pressure to over-complicate this and add too many elements. Sometimes the simplest panel format works the best. 8. Optional Panel Components: Moderators - try these!: Moderators, we're going to show you some cool optional activities to spice up a panel. Panelists, you can suggest a couple of these ideas your moderator, if it feels right. The more helpful and supportive you are, the more chances you have to earn eternal hero status. The quick fire quiz. Welcome to our panel of travel experts. Let's kick this off with some quick fire questions. When traveling, go with the flow or have a plan? Always have a plan. Always have a plan. Go with the flow. Hot tub or ice bath? Ice bath. Hot tub. Hot tub. Massage or meditation? Massage. Meditation. Massage. Hike or bike? Bike. Hike. Neither. Most memorable holiday meal? Fried chicken in Japan. Red wine in Spain. Kebab in Turkey. Best cheap holiday you've ever been on? 1830's Turquoise. Macau. Portugal. Aside from your phone, your most essential travel gadget? Flip flops. My credit card. I can get anything I need with that. Travel pillow. Best jet-lag cure? Coffee. Long run. Coffee. What's something you do in a hotel room that you really shouldn't do? Definitely eating room service on the bed. Using the glasses from the minibar. Jumping up and down on the bed like an 8-year-old. Complete this sentence. I'm happiest on holiday when? I'm in a bathrobe. I'm in bed. I'm exploring any city. Welcome to our panel of toy manufacturers. Let's kick this off with a few quick fire questions. Favorite childhood toy? My teddy bear. My Lego set. My brother's Superman. Best board game? Monopoly. Risk. True Dough. Online or offline games? Offline. Always online. Offline. Most fun under $5? UNO. You cannot have fun for under $5. Pack of cards. Most fun without batteries? Life is always more fun with batteries. A jump rope. My brother's Superman. Complete this sentence. All I want for Christmas is? You. My two front teeth. Not to have to cook. Thanks very much guys. See, easy and fun. It doesn't always have to be so lighthearted. Sometimes you can use a quick fire quiz with more serious topics too. Paddle quizzes. These could be true or false. Thumbs up, thumbs down. Fab or bad. Oh yay, hell no. Yes, please or no way. Now welcome to our panel of esteemed education experts. Agree or disagree? Disagree. Agree. Smaller schools are better than bigger schools as there are more opportunities for individual attention. Agree. Disagree. Agree. Standardized tests are outdated? Disagree. Disagree. Agree. Homework should be scrapped because there are no proven benefits? Agree. Disagree. Agree. Younger is not better when it comes to learning a second language? Agree. Disagree. Disagree. If you do it right, online education can be just as effective as in-person learning? Agree. Disagree. 100 percent. See, you can actually stop along the way as well and probe some of the answers. You might say, you answered that really quickly. Why is that? Or, you actually had to think about that a little. Why is that? Or, you're the only one who disagreed. In three words or less. Welcome to our esteemed media panel today. Let's get started with some questions that you have to answer in three words or less. Number one, who's your favorite movie villain? Reveal. Look at that, two Jokers. Must be the villain of the moment. Which media platform is going to win in the long run, YouTube, Netflix, Apple TV, or something else? Angela is all ready to go. Sammy is thinking a little. Let's have a look. Two YouTubes and Netflix. I can see that we're starting to see a little divide in our panel here. Next question, what's the number one quality you admire in a celebrity? Apparently this is not an easy question to answer. Let's have a look. Silence. Let's look at it from another side. What is the number one quality you despise in a celebrity? Chad is still writing, he's got a lot to say. Oh, now she's got to add. Are you cheating off each other? Hold it up. Really skinny, an open mouth, fake humility. I see the two sides of the coin here. What is the most overrated fad in media? Now there is some thinking going on, some reconsideration. Ready? Hold it up. You heard it here first folks. This game only works if the answers can be read by the audience in the room. So either it's a smaller venue or there's a camera projecting to a bigger screen. Notice how we started easy, who's your favorite movie villain, before we moved on to some tougher questions, to warm your panelists up. This format works better if your questions stir up some debates or a little controversial. If you'd ask the panelists straight out, what's the number one quality you despise in a celebrity? There's a risk they would play it safe. Getting them to all play like this pretty much forces them to state an opinion. Peer pressure, yay. It also helps to have a little bit of music, ding, ding, ding, ding, while they're writing their answers down. While they're writing, you can add comments or turn and ask the audience for their thoughts. You want them to reveal their answers at the same time for some drama. This also makes for a great photo moment. So cast a glance at your photographer to make sure they're clicking away. So now we've had a chance to try a few different things to spice up a panel and I'd like to get some feedback from you on what really worked. Sammy, which one did you like the best? I think I liked the paddle game the most. Why is that? I liked the props. It changed how I thought about my answers. Deck, how about you? Which one did you like? I really like the speed quizzes. It was fun to be put on the spot and have to be very spontaneous. Just like that? Just like that and spontaneous and come up with an answer on the spot. So a little bit of pressure worked for you? Not just now, but generally, yes. Angela, you've been on both sides. You've been both moderator and panelist. Which activities do you like the best? I always like a bit of a quick fire quiz at the beginning, but I like the paddle like Sammy, because I do love the props and it looks really good photos afterwards for social media. Now that you've tried this for the very first time, do you have any tips for another panelist on how to make it work for them? I think prep before the session is key to a good session, feeding off each other's energy and having some chemistry. I think it's important. Deck, how about you? I was getting a brief outline of what's going to happen on stage, what we're going to talk about, the general flow of things. It's important to be spontaneous but prepared spontaneity is better. Angela, based on your experience, is it ever an issue when you might have in a panel of three, one person who might be a little bit more serious than others? When you're doing your first prep coin, you realize that someone is really not going to take part in games like this. Yeah, sure. Don't use it. Obviously, it depends on the topic as well. If it's a really heavy topic, this might not be appropriate. But generally, if there's one that's a bit more serious and two are more playful, the audience love it actually. They love seeing different personalities and a different mix, so it can make for something that's more entertaining in fact. So the key is let people know what's coming, but you don't have to give them the details. So you can still get that little element of surprise once you're onstage? Audience polls and other interaction. We've talked before about the power of audience interaction. Just getting them to think a little, move a little, even if it's simply putting their hand up. A small action can produce a big jolt of energy. When you talk to the audience, put some zest into it and mirror the response you want them to give. So who's looking forward to see the premier this morning? Give us a cheer, yay. It might take them a few seconds to do what you ask and your arms feel like they've been up there forever on their own. But a little bit of gusto, some eye contact and a lot of belief goes a long way. Audience interaction apps. Trina, what do you think of these audience response apps? In my experience, they can work really well. I think it's because the responses are anonymous. Sometimes people are more comfortable responding that way than raising their hand in the room. I think it's also motivating if they know they're going to see the results right away. Just be sure to do a technical check beforehand. Turn to your neighbor. One of the best types of interaction is simply having your audience turn and share something with their neighbor. Like, "Turn to your neighbor in three words, describe your current state of mind". So when is the best time to use this? Anytime, especially if you need an energy boost. Sometimes you have a session after lunch and the air feels a little bit sleepy, I'll just throw one in there randomly. For example, I recently said to really sleepy Friday afternoon crowd, "Turn to your neighbor and high-five each other." The room just cracked up with laughter. Hot seat. In a hot seat, a preselected member of the audience volunteers to sit in the hot seat. They come up to the stage, take a seat and the panelists give them specific advice. Let's say it's a panel about small business marketing. The moderator sets it up. This is Wayne. She owns an eight-person accountancy practice serving local businesses like hairdressers, local shops, and building contractors. When your biggest headache is in sales and marketing, give us some background. Wayne briefly describes the problem and the panelists give practical advice. Hot seats can be great because you can really get into specifics and deeper engagement. You need a volunteer that's willing to be honest and open about their problem, and it needs to be an issue that resonates with the audience. These are some memorable optional activities. If you're wondering which one to pick, run them by your panel and see what sparks their interest. But just as important, pick a game that makes your key messages more memorable. Action steps. Draft a panel discussion format. Spend a few minutes coming up with a draft format for your panel. If you can, run it past one or more of your panelists for feedback. 9. Moderator Prep: The Fast Track: Moderator Prep, The Fast Track. Moderators, we're going to help you fast track the preparation process. Ideally, you want to get all the panelists on a video conference together at least a couple of weeks before the conference. The purpose of this course is to get everyone aligned on the goals of the panel and the experience you want to create the audience. This is also a great opportunity for everyone to get to know each other and build some trust. After all, you want your panelists to work together to create a valuable session. We've included a cut and paste e-mail you can use to set up this first video call. Trina, talk us through how you kick off the school. Well, I'll start off by just saying, thanks everyone for making time today. Let's try to net out the most useful content we can for our audience by understanding how you compliment each other as speakers. After the call, all gather the notes together and I'll map out a flow that I'll share with you guys via an e-mail. Then I'll frame up the context. I'll say, here's a reminder of the subject and the audience. The panel title is Santos Little Helpers, the ethics of AI in children's toys, and most of the attendees work in the toy industry. There are well balanced mix of buyers and sellers plus some of the best-known toy trade media. Not many of them will be experts in artificial intelligence. I'll often give a recommendation of how we position the panel. For example, if we're early on day 1, we might want to give the audience some provocative questions on the conference theme to think about as they go into later sessions. If we're late, we're at the closing, we may need to ensure with time the big theme together and dial up on the entertainment aspects so we leave on a really high note. It's also important for people to get to know each other on this first call. I'll say, first of all, I know that none of you have met or shared the stage together. So let's go round. If everyone could give a short introduction and one or two key thoughts they have around the topic. You'll explain our guiding principle. What do we want our audience to think, do, and feel? Yes, after everyone's introduced themselves, I'll go around again, explain that framework and then ask people for their one or two key points. Do you have to find this ego is involved in everyone is trying to show off, well dominate the conversation. That hardly ever happens. But if it does, I just make sure that everyone has a say. I might suggest some loose roles. Raja, I see is you as pushing the creative and experimental side of the argument, and Mickey, you're coming for the ethical side of the discussion. What are your key thoughts on what the audience needs to know? What I've found is that as one panelist shares an idea or story, it will spark a reaction from someone else. Then you'll start to see how a good dialogue can be built. Or all specifically ask, John, hearing what sound does share? How would you respond to that? How about getting interesting stories? I'll just ask directly. I'll say, does anyone have a good story to illustrate that point? Because we know audiences love stories? Or can we come up with a good specific example for the audience? I might even prompt them by saying, what's the most surprising thing you learned from that experience? Or what was the most negative reaction you got to that product? Or what was your biggest failure? These will draw stories with a strong emotional components, and we know that emotion plays a big role in being memorable. Sometimes panelists feel they have to come up with something completely new, and I'm never shy to say to them common guys, I'm looking for your greatest hits here. The stories or examples of tips that resonated the most. I'll put in some research I might have done. Francis, you said in your 2019 TED Talk on artificial intelligence, that it was the greatest technological threat to mankind. Now that is some statement. Can you give us the key takeaway or let us know if you have thoughts have changed or evolved from that. Very flattered that you've done your research. You bet a little authentic flattery never hurts, acts as a few encouraging phrases on the call. "I love your take on that. That's great. We'll have to shorten it a bit, but I love that too." You can probe deeper with questions like, does anyone have a counter argument or a follow-up point or story about that? If I have a quiz or any other activity I want to add, I'll try it out. I'll say, "You know I was thinking the quick fire quiz, kick things off. Let's have a quick go now." Short version and we'll see how it gets. I'm going also remind them of our ground rules before we close our callout or I'll include them as part of the follow-up email. What would those ground rules be? The ground rules are don't talk over each other. No answer longer than two minutes. Do not hug the mic. We're not looking to have one person dominate. This is not a sales pitch. We're here to provide value for the audience, so put their needs first. We won't necessarily go down the line and get a reply from each one of you for every question, particularly if your take on the question is the same. As the moderator, I'll interrupt you as I see fit. Avoid interrupting a fellow panelist. Give me a signal, a nod or slightly raise your hand to me, if you have a different point, and I'll let you talk afterwards if appropriate. But not that I'm not looking for the same message. You can close out with them, remind you of the next action steps. Which is that you'll send an e-mail with a draft flow and recommend another call about a week later to lock things down. Or you can do individual cause after this. As you wrap, remind them of anything they need to prepare in advance, such as their photo or bio, and a housekeeping or logistics. For example, let's meet in the hotel lobby the night before. How is 6:00 PM for everyone? Sometimes panelists are really busy and you might not get a chance to have a call like this. But in that case, try to speak to each panelist separately to build that connection by e-mail if you have to, even if you can only meet everyone over breakfast on the day of the conference itself, that's much better than no prep at all. Action steps. Prep your panel. Set up a call with your panel to brainstorm the flow and key discussion points. 10. The Art Of Moderating: Moderators, here's a useful way to think about your role. Don't worry, it's just cold tea. It's 10:00 a.m. in the morning people. Think of yourself as the host of the party. What makes a great host? A charming host warmly greets everyone, introduces the guests to each other. A host kick starts the conversation, makes sure no one embarrasses themselves, organizes the perfect photo moment, and gets everyone out the door, at the end, feeling as if they've had a wonderful time, and can't wait to do it all over again. If you think about it, at many parties, the host doesn't get to talk very much, but they make all the difference in terms of establishing the overall atmosphere. One of the traits of a great host, and therefore great moderator, is the elimination of uncertainty. You are in charge of avoiding awkwardness or dead air. The way you are invited in and taken care of by the host, it makes all the difference. A host is a guide, a navigator, and so much more than that. You're not just the host of a party, you're like the host of a children's party. Don't expect either your panels, or your audience can figure out any of this without you. So be very clear. A lot of this is about managing the transitions from one activity to another. Endings have the potential to be the messiest. No one knows quite when to get off stage. So think it through and tell people what to do, "Before we have a round of applause, to thank our panelists, we have some gifts to present." Then you present the gifts, take the photo, then you ask for applause as you guide the panelists off the stage. It's always the one thing I'm very explicit about; where they got up on stage and how they leave. So be warm, gracious, and ooze confidence throughout. You're the world's greatest children's party host. This needs ice. Action steps. Look at your panel format and visualize it from beginning to end. That includes how you and the panelists are going to enter the stage, how you're going to start and handle each transition, and how you're going to end. Remember, you're the host or the hostess with mostest. 11. How To Open Your Panel Session (for Moderators): Moderators, this is your time to shine. The spotlight's on you when it comes to opening the panel session. Like a great party host, remind everyone why they're here, and confirm there's no better place for them to be. Step one: sell the topic. This is your once upon a time, the opening to a fascinating story that will hook the crowd. You've got a couple of sentences to set the scene, and the issue. Locked chain is a complicated series of tunnels, and we need better shovels. Our three block-chain experts have the tools to set you up, whether you're completely new to block-chain investing, or if you're wondering when and how to sell. Public education was down for the count when the Covid-19 epidemic hit. Suddenly, classroom teachers had to ask big questions about how to use technology, when to use it and who could afford it. Luckily, we have three leading thinkers with us today with the start to some answers. You might be wondering if you have the right skills and tools to get a job in A.I. Well, you can think of our panel today as the digital Swiss army knife of artificial intelligence. Notice how well metaphors work when it comes to describing the big picture. Step two: hype up the panel. Your panelists were chosen for a reason. They've got something valuable to share. Fire up your online thesaurus to find just the right word to describe how great they are. Let's meet our distinguished panel. Let's meet our tremendous panel. Let's meet our formidable panel. You get the idea. You can look at the document for all the examples we're mentioning here. Step three: find the right tone. How about, here are three thought leaders you'll definitely want your corner when it comes to software engineering. Let's meet these pacesetters in the world of business transformation. Here is the block-chain dream team. We'll talk about how to introduce your individual panelists in another video, but you can start with an audience grabbing opening that will have them looking up from their screens. Action steps: Use our worksheet to draft your intro. You can tailor any of the examples, or create your own. 12. Curtain Up: Getting People On Stage: Entering the stage. Moderators, let's talk about what needs to happen on stage at the very beginning. You got to get people on stage and in the right places. But first you got to get yourself on stage and you want to establish some stage presence. I got this trick when I was studying to become a teacher. This is one of those things that experienced teachers pass onto the newbies. When you really want your group's attention, stand up at the front of the class, in silence. Just looking at them. Before you know it, they stop what they're doing and they start paying attention to you. You've built up that anticipation. "What is she going to say? Something big is coming." That's the anticipation you want for your session. I love that. When I think back to my most respected teachers, they pulled this trick every class. I never realized that until now. Stage presence is just as much about handling the silences as it's handling the sounds. There's a difference between dead air, which is what we talked about avoiding earlier, and live air. The anticipation about what's to come. Some moderators when you enter the stage and sometimes an MC is introducing you and handing of the mic or sometimes you're entering the stage cold and introducing yourself. "Welcome to the stage." Just pause for a second. Look at the audience. It sets an expectation. It's like when a conductor raises his baton, doesn't let it fall straight away. Hi, my name is Angela Cheung, delighted to be your pilots. We head into the feature for the next 60 minutes." So goose bumpy from the stop. Now how to get your panelists upon stage? There are two common ways to do this. One way is to have your panelists onstage and seated before you start. Then you, the moderator, welcomes the audience and introduces the panelists who stay seated. Another way is to have you say hi to the audience and then introduce the panelists one-by-one, who come up on stage and sit down in turn. You can ask the audience to applaud each panelist walks to their seat. Another important detail to think about is if you have slides with each speaker's name tied to social media handles, there's likely to be a style set by the event organizer that you need to follow. Make sure you ask about this early in the planning. Angela, what do you prefer? My instinct is to try and do something different to the panels that have gone before. If the sandstone is, everyone's already seated, I'll get them to come up one by one with applause between each. My other instinct is to avoid technology wherever possible. I don't want to do slides, I don't want to do clickers. I don't want to deal with apps, I just want to talk. Of course it's easier the last Tech you have, so the more things stay within your control. But it's not always up to us. Action steps, visualize the flow of your opening. Be the conductor seamlessly bringing all your players together with pose and presence. 13. How To Introduce Your Panelists (for Moderators): How you introduce your panel to the audience, can make a huge difference between an awesome session and an awful one. Name, title and organization. Sure, anyone could do that. But bring a little creativity and style and both the audience and the panel will feel energized. As always, short and snappy, keeps your audience happy. Throw out the CVs. CVs are great for job applications, not so much for intros. Why? Firstly, there's usually a bio for each speaker in the event program already. Job title, work history, and where they went to school. Don't waste your precious onstage minutes covering what your audience can read on their own. Your goal as the moderator is to show the audience how credible and incredible each one of your panelists are. Pull out no more than three cool facts for each. Let's look at a couple of examples. Starting from a standard speaker bio, you might get something like this. It gives me great pleasure to welcome Dr. Lee Jason. Dr. Jason is a senior economist at the University of Seoul and Co-founder of the Center for Innovation and Financial literacy at the XYZ Institute. Dr. Jason is an expert in economics. In particular, the relationship between money and motivation. She was chosen as Money Magazine Asia's 100 thinkers who will shake up the financial world in 2016. Please welcome Dr. Lee Jason. It's okay. But it's likely to be covered in the event program. But as you're prepping for the event, you should be looking for more. How can you get to know your panelists on a more personal level? Ask questions. What inspired you to pursue this career? What's been the highlight of your career so far? What's been the low point? How did you feel to win that award? How did you celebrate? Who's your hero? What do you do when you're not working? The list is endless, but as you're getting to know your panelists, interesting nuggets will come out of the conversation. It might even lend itself to a short funny story. How the panelist is the only other person you know, who likes anchovies on pizza or that she became spelling bee champion at her primary school with the word Neff relief. When you share that with your audience, you'll help each panelist to be memorable, but also approachable. Often it's the personal tidbits that give conference goers a great conversation opener at the post-event cocktails. Finally, a great intro can help the audience understand the relevance of each panelist in the discussion. For example, here to break some of the misconceptions around money and motivation. Please welcome Dr. Lee Jason. Once you've gathered all the info, turn it into a short intro. As a general rule, if it takes longer than 60 seconds to introduce one speaker, you're starting to rob your panel of precious discussion time. Be picky name, title and if they have several titles, choose the most relevant ones to the topic. Pick two interesting facts, and explain their relevance. Something like this. I'm thrilled to welcome Dr. Lee Jason. Dr. Jason is a senior economist at the University of Seoul and Co-founder of the Center for Innovation and Financial literacy at the XYZ Institute. She's devoted her career to exploring the relationship between money and motivation. Does money really motivate people? Is being motivated by money wrong? If money doesn't motivate employees, what does? Dr. Jason was chosen as one of Money Magazine Asia's 100 thinkers will shake up the Financial World in 2016. Curiously, she celebrated the recognition without spending any money at all. Here to let you know why money isn't a great motivator and what works instead? Please welcome Dr. Lee Jason. Action steps, drafts and impacts on intro that your panelists deserve. Make sure you share the intro with each panelists and get their approval before you get onstage. 14. Foolproof Self-Introductions: Whether you're a panelist or moderator, if you're short on time, here's our foolproof self- introduction formula. My name is blank and I help people do something so they can something. I help business leaders develop their communication skills so they can deliver effective presentations without nerves to inspire audiences. Well, this one sentence is so super helpful. Let's look at a few more examples. I helped busy executives book their family vacations so they can relax. I help overwhelm students, find the right accommodation so they can settle into college right away. My company helps frustrated small business owners grow their social media presence so they can increase sales. Why is this so powerful? Firstly, it's short and to the point. Then it's in plain English. Often job titles such as Vice President's, consultant, or head of sales, don't describe what we do at all, or they become cliched. It's got how target audience action benefit, all in one sentence. How does such a positive but who doesn't like someone who's helpful, do something, you'll actually responsible for making something happen. So they can, this is the benefit of what you do. It's a foolproof formula for time pressed votes. Action, step. Craft a quick self-introduction with our foolproof formula. I help people do something so they can something. 15. Our Golden List of Panel Questions: Think of all the panels you've been to. Many focus on what the speakers want to say more than what the audience wants to hear, right? How often do you find yourself scrolling through your phone instead of taking notes. Don't be that guy. We can help because we spent years gathering a go to list of questions so you don't have to. It's in our attached document. Let's cover a few. Questions that set the scene. Why does this topic matter right now? What makes a brand great? And how do you turn your business into a lasting brand? This is the question we're going to answer in today's discussion. Questions that have some drama. I want to start with a question on this topic that really floored me. Tell me about the moment you realized that this industry would never be the same again? Questions to draw out juicy stories. Describe the conversation you had with your boss when you quit to start your own airline? Tell us about that failure that taught you such an important lesson? Questions to get practical and tactical. Think about useful advice that your audience can actually do after the discussion. Not just the big ideas, ask questions that help them to see how they can use the information after they leave. What's the one thing the audience can do when they go back to the office tomorrow? Tell the audience exactly what you said to get that first investor on board. Questions to get personal. How would you like to be remembered? What character trait do you most attribute to your success and why? Okay, fantastic. These are great questions. There's just too many of them. How many do we need here? The answer is not very many. But a good rule of thumb is for a one hour panel of three experts, three to five questions per person is probably all you need. You don't need everyone to answer every question. So how did you go about picking your questions? When I first talked to my panelists, I asked lots of broad questions just to tease out some interesting sound bites. Do they have a great story to share or are there interesting differences in what the speakers have to say? Then I work backwards from that to draft the specific questions that I want to use and I'll give them back to the panelists along with the bullet points from that conversation. How should a moderator switch up topics? I think in a panel, it's okay to jump from one topic to another. In fact, as the moderator, you can actually say that. Let me jump into tactics now or let me go back to something you said earlier. Great, and should the moderator respond every time a speaker gives an answer? I don't think you have to. Just keep the conversation moving and bring in the other speakers. And you can add some follow up questions. How did that make you feel? How did you decide that? Hold on, you're going to have to explain that to the audience exactly how you did that. Sometimes I actually plan the follow ups. I'll prep the panel by saying, after you've told that story, I'm going to ask you this. Action steps. Draft your questions using our golden list. 16. Answering Questions with Ease: Who wants to make answering questions easy? Well, we've got just the thing, PREP with P-R-E-P. P, make one point, R, give one reason, E, give one example and P, restate your point, but in a memorable way. Let's look at an example. Question, will artificial intelligence lead to massive job losses in the service industry? This is the answer, yes. Workers need to enhance their skills as artificial intelligence will replace millions of service jobs in the next decade. Because AI can perform every repetitive decision based task faster and more consistently than humans. For example, our chatbots are already handling 20 minute calls with customers who can't tell the difference. If workers don't upgrade, they will fade. See how powerful PREP can be when answering a question? It's such an easy framework. It's easy to remember and helps you form a smooth, articulate reply. The key point was made catchy with the rhyme. Bridging. In a panel discussion, there will be moments when you, A, disagree with someone, and B, you want to steer the conversation back to your key point. The most interesting panels are built on different points of view. This bridging technique can help you handle both the situations with elegance. It's called Bridging because you start by respectfully acknowledging the other person's point, then smoothly link it to your point. Phrases such as, that is true but we need to keep it in perspective, there are different views on this but I believe, that's one way to look at it but I think. Remember, whatever you're saying, keep a smile on your face. This is a discussion where people are coming to learn, not the Hunger Games. Action steps. Practice answering questions using the PREP format. Practice bridging to disagree diplomatically and pivot the conversation back to your key message. 17. How To Politely Shut Someone Up: How to shut someone up. One of my biggest fails came early in my journalism career when I was interviewing scientists on live radio. I had four minutes to ask him four questions, but I never got past question one because he just started talking and he kept going. Moderators, this section is close to my heart, how to shut someone up. When you have limited time and multiple speakers, it's your job to make sure it's a lively conversation between everyone. When you have a panelists who likes to have a go, it's time for you to S.H.I.F.T. S, signal clearly to your speaker with your H, your hand, to let them know you're going to cut in. I, interrupt as you see fit. Smile doesn't hurt here. F, give the speaker face. Acknowledge the contribution in a positive way, and then T, transition to the next speaker or the next question. A shift might look like this. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And another thing, Blah, blah, blah. Treena, you've just raise an excellent point there. I'd like to hear what the others have to say on that. Sam, do you agree that a zombie apocalypse is imminent? Action steps. Moderator, practice a couple of shifts so you're ready for panelists who won't shut up. 18. How To End: Moderators, give your panel a big finish. A great panel closing is like a great movie ending. It should leave your audience happy, educated, and entertained, so make it a 3-R finish. One, wrap up the discussion with the panel's key takeaways. Two, recap the highlights or the theme. Three, recognize the panel with a thank you and applause. How long should it take to do that? Depending on the length for your panel, plan for four to eight minutes to close. It doesn't hurt to wrap up a minute or two early. Your audience will appreciate it if they can get to that coffee break a bit earlier. Let everyone know when you're ready to close. Often just the words, "Any final thoughts," or "We have time for just one question," is enough to wake up any audience members whose minds have started to drift. Ideally, you want to give you a panelists one final opportunity to recap the most important idea or ideas. Make sure to tell them in advance to keep it brief. You can say, "What's your key takeaway," or "What's the most important thing you want your audience to remember. 30 seconds each, go." Then you can recap the highlights with a theme. There are different ways to do this. For example, you could refer back to your opening statement. Lets say we opened our panel saying, "Blockchain is a complicated series of tunnels. We need better shovels, " then your closing might be, "Now we're equipped with the right shovels to dig our way out of this technology tunnel. We've had our heads dragged out of the sand, squirming and blinking into the sunlight." Another approach is audience interaction. You could do a quick poll to end with an ample show of hands. Such as, "What will you do differently tomorrow?" Then you give three options. Or ask the audience to reflect. Ask them what action they'll take and to write it down or share it with the person next to them. This is also a good time to mention how they can contact the panelists. Will they be around for the evening cocktails, where they can be found on social media. Finally, recognition. Of course, thank your panel. Mention some of the specific things that they shared, whether it's new research, an insider's look at an issue, or even some personal vulnerability. "Jordan, thank you so much for being strong enough to share your struggle with cancer." "Mike, we're really excited about your latest research on a possible cure." Then ask the audience to join you in applause. There's one more R on our list, relax. Congratulate yourself for a job well done. Action step, craft a strong 3-R closing. 19. BONUS: Virtual (video) Panels: More panels are getting virtual these days, the entire discussion is conducted online. In some ways it's easier when you're not on a big stage, but in some respects, it's actually more challenging. The way this thing is not the answer with the crowd. I'm always wondering if anyone's really listening or they can even hear me. You get used to this, but it's very disconcerting at the beginning. You have to think about your presence, your body language, and the interaction with your panel in a very different way. Eye contact. Get your camera up to eye level. This usually means propping up your computer and make sure you have some lovely warm lights on you face, especially you eyes. I always face a big window if it's day time, or nice warm light in the evening. Play around a bit until you get the framing right. I've seen people sit too far away from the camera and then you can't see their faces clearly. Yeah, and in TV we always say don't cut at the joint. Don't frame it, so if your head is cut off at the neck, you'll face in upper body should fill the screen and don't cut off the top of your head either. Look at your camera, not the screen. Imagine you're talking to a good friend across the table at a coffee shop. The eye contact needs to feel quite intimate. Even though you only staring at computer lens. Smile warmly. Your facial expressions matter even more here. Yes, the eyes have to work hard. You show you're listening by nodding, smiling, laughing, and try not to look down at your notes as much as if you were on stage. Check your background. Keep your background simple, not distracting. Make sure you put your laundry away and you're not by the bathroom door. I've heard some great stories related to the unexpected cameo appearance of family members getting out of the shower or the sound of the toilet flushing. Delivery. Speak a little more slowly than normal because there's often an audio lag, pause. Make sure another speaker is finished before you start. Moderators, you'll need to be a little more directive, interceding after one speakers finished to direct who can speak next. You can have nets off to the side. I use an iPad stand. Make sure that brief was in a large font they can get in a glance so that you're not looking to the side or looking down too much. Gets some help. Moderators, it's much better if you can enlist a buddy with their own computer as a second set of eyes for you. To monitor the chat and the audience, double-check that the audio level and other tech is working. How does that, what with a body? Well, the chats going by so fast, it's hard to concentrate on the speakers and look for good audience questions and comments at the same time, I get a colleague to text me with good questions or comments. The tech matters. Explain to your audience how to use the platform, how to open the chat box, how to change the screen view, how to mute and un-mute your mic. Remind them that this is being recorded. At the beginning, have a holding slide that says something like, "Thank you for joining, the conference will start in two minutes." And moderates his check at the beginning that everyone can hear you, just say, "Can you hear me thumbs up on the screen, please?" Mute when you're not speaking. Of course, when it comes to technical matters, know you'll video conference software, have a play around with the platform so you understand how it works. Our final word on the technical aspect. There are many different platforms and solutions out there. Some of them have very cool features, virtual backgrounds, waiting rooms, multiple sharing capabilities, filters and those cool face effects. I love the beauty filter of course, for that soft gorgeous glow. There are raised hand icons and in chat emoticons, live photo taking capabilities, and many more. While we always recommend that you keep things as simple as possible and within your control. Some of these are well worth exploring. 20. A Prep Checklist For Moderators: Prep Checklist for Moderators. We've taken you on a deep dive into panel moderation, but it's not that complex, especially when you boil it down to a simple checklist. One, map out the key sections of your panel discussion and estimate how much time to spend on each. Two, write your intro. Three, write your closing. Four, draft at least 3-5 main questions for each panelist and any likely follow-up questions. Five, double-check your panelists' bio details and how to pronounce their names. You can even record it on your phone so you don't forget. Six, gather any props you need. For example, paddles for a game. Seven, write up your cue cards, whether its on real cards, paper or a tablet. Eight, test all your tech, such as slides, clickers, projectors, and mics as well as the backups. Let's get back to cue cards for a minute Trina. What do you like to use? I've tried different things but I find the easiest thing for me is one piece of paper. As I work on it, intro questions and closing, I'm memorizing the points over time and where to find it in the document. I can find but I need quickly. I don't like holding multiple cards because chances are I'm going to drop one or all of them. I make notes as I go along such as follow-up questions and bits I can point out for the ending. I'm lazy and a terrible multitasker. I prefer to carry as little as possible on stage, so I don't take a pen with me. I find it too hard to write while I'm trying to look really interested and listen at the same time. I do try to talk to the panelists a few times while we preps, so there shouldn't be any big surprises on the day. I pre-plan the bits I want to bring up the end. Action step. Go through every item on the checklist and then go and do something fun. Walk your dog, go have a biscuit. You're ready. 21. A Handy Checklist For The Big Day: The big day has finally arrived, the moment you've been working towards for weeks. It is a big day, and probably a busy one. Our keep calm checklist can make it as easy as possible for you to stay organized, feel prepared, and freed up, to enjoy the networking and learning over the course of the day. Moderators, you want to arrive early to get a feel for the audience and the room set-up, and make sure that all your materials and tech a ready to go. Tell the organizers where you are just in case there's any last-minute instructions or updates. Find your room timer, where there is a personal clock, and make sure you can see it from your place on stage. Find your panelists and make sure they have what they need. Get mic'd up, whether it's wearing a cap on mic, a headset or the handheld mic. Test it. Get a quiet place and run through the first few minutes in your head, how you get onstage and what you'll say. Meet your mic carriers and explain how you run the audience Q&A. Panelists, your checklist is similar. Get to the event as early as you can to get a feel for the audience and the room. Find your moderator and do the tech check together. Make sure you've got your notes, whether cue cards, paper or tablet. Get mic'd up and test it. Find a quiet place where you can run through the first few minutes of the session in your head. Run through your first statements and your first answer. Check, check, check, and you're ready to go. Is there anything else? Yeah. Bring lots of business cards and plan to hand every one of them out. Remember, you're here to build your network. Anything else Angela? Well, celebrate. When it's over and you've come out of stage, take a moment to soak all in and thank yourself for a job well-done. Action Step. Go down the checklist, work out your schedule for the day, and breathe easy. 22. Dealing With Nerves, Body Language and Delivery: Let's talk a little bit now about dealing with nerves, body language, and delivery. We've both had our issues with stage fright. I still get terrified after all these years, I've learned to manage it, but I think nerves will always stay with me. If you work on your body language, your physical state, then the mental state can often follow. I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but many studies have shown that if you act confident, keep your head up, your back straight and your voice clear, the confidence follows. Studies have also shown that audiences can't tell the difference between confidence and brilliance. I love this talk about life hack. Act confidence and people will think you're brilliant. Yeah, but when you're shaking so bad, you can hear your own knees knocking, and the moderators asked you a question, and not only do you not know the answer, you don't even understand the question, that's a pretty lonely place to be. Well, it helps to put it in perspective. It's only a panel discussion. I always think of the actor Christopher Reeve who played Superman in the '70s and '80s, he had a horse riding accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down. I watched him in his wheelchair as he's about to give a speech on stem cell research and the interviewer asked, Are you nervous? He glanced down at his paralyzed body and he looked back up at the interviewer and he said," No I'm not nervous." What's the worst thing that can happen? The worst thing that can happen is I won't be wonderful. That's all. Maybe you won't be wonderful, but you will be human and the audience will get that. So tell yourself, no matter what, you're going to enjoy the experience. If you mess up a bit, if there's some technical problem,. There's always a technical problem. Just take it near stride with grace and a sense of humor. Be interesting by being interested. If you look like you don't care, you think anyone else will? So give your panel audience some love by nodding your head, having engaged eyes, sitting forward and smiling. Especially for photos. If you're sitting back with your arms crossed and looking serious, it can come across as boredom in the photos. Yeah, you're on-camera at all times, that means from the moment you enter the stage and sit down, to the moment you depart, the audience will pick up on any negative body language. The same goes for sound. You never know when the audio operator has switched your mic on. So never say anything in a stage whisper and don't fidget either. The mic can pick up a lot. So practice being on stage, sit on a chair or on a stool, and film yourself and watch how you look. It's painful, I know. But that's how I discovered I have this weird smug smile when I'm nervous. No, you don't. She don't. Once I saw that I was able to start training myself to smile with my teeth, which looks much friendlier, right? Yeah and even just making this course, we learned some really weird things about ourselves, like we both flirt with our hair when we're feeling nervous. Just to make things even more uncomfortable for yourself, why not play that recording back another time with your eyes closed so you can hear how your voice sounds. Also, cringe worthy. Here's a quick tip on voice. Relax your shoulders and speak from your chest, just a little more slowly than you normally speak. Just doing that can relax you and when you relax, your voice opens up and sound smoother. Once you've done it, panel discussion ask for feedback and be specific with your ask. Otherwise, they'll just say, yeah, you are great. I always ask name two things that did well, and two things that could be improved. So how do you know when your body language is working? When nobody comments on it. It means that they're focused on what you had to say, and that is what it means to manage your nerves. 23. BONUS: Using Social Media to Make the Most of your Appearance: Question, if someone speaks at an event and no one posts about it on social media, did it really happen? You can get a lot of mileage out of an event by posting on social media before, during, and after. So do it. After all, isn't the whole point to raise your profile? Beforehand, create a post of three and share posts from the conference organizers too. They often have templates you can use with key messages, hashtags, and images. A few plugs about how excited you are to be part of the event will let people know what you're doing, and can help publicize the event. If you work for a company with a social media team, ask if they might also post or share your posts on their public accounts too. During, get a friend or someone from the conference team to take great photos of you speaking. Make sure there's some solo pics in there because some companies don't let you post photos of others without their permission. Afterwards, post with your key takeaways and thank yous, and tag, tag, tag all the key people. Go big on those hashtags. 24. BONUS: How to find speaking opportunities: Let's get you some speaking gigs. Most speaking gigs will come from word of mouth, that's your own network, referrals from colleagues or your bosses, and other events you've spoken out in the past or attended. The first thing to do is just let people know that you're available. Just say, "Hey, I want to do more speaking gigs. Do you have any referrals or any recommendations?" There are tons of networking events and conferences, virtual or in person, and I can tell you as someone who gets involved in organizing committees, we're always looking for new, interesting, enthusiastic speakers. When you're a conference organizer and I will send cold emails to people like you just don't work. They often do. Here's an email. I've changed some of the details, but this is an actual email that I received and I went and booked this person as a speaker. I also referred into another event organizer as well. Here are some other leads. Did you know that many conferences have an online speaker or panel submission form? Google the conference name plus panel submission to find this. There are also speaker bureaus, they're like dating sites for speakers. Or you can sign up and asked to be represented by a talent agency. There's a lot of things you can do as well that can lead to gigs, for example, add speaker or expert in your social media profile or email signature. Now, Angela you ended up in a speaking tour of the US in a very serendipitous way. I did. I just put up a live video of a speech I was giving in Japan on my Facebook, a friend saw it, connected me with another friend, and before you know it, I was on a speaking tour of universities in the States. The point being is keep putting yourself out there and opportunities will arise, some that you expect and some you, they don't, but they'll come. Action steps. Write down ten potential speaking gigs you'd like to pursue and formulate a plan of action, whether it's an email, personal referral, going by a speaker bureau, or filling out their panel form, go get them. 25. THE END! Wow. You. Did. It: You've made it over the finish line. Silent cheer. Not only have you achieved something good here, but your future self is going to thank you. The future you. Who in five or 10 years time is going to look back and say, "Wow, remember that course I took and panel discussions. Now look at me. I'm a speaking ace. I've to swat away the invitations now," there's too many. I can pretty much guarantee that you'll future self is never going to say, "You know what, I wish I hadn't done those many panel discussions. " Do you stay in touch with us? We'd love to hear how you do. Share your experiences with us. Tell us what you thought of the course. We would love a review. If there's any other information or help we can give you, get on panels, get noticed, be a huge success. Till the next time. Thank you.