■ ■ What is the program format?
■ ■ Who are the other panelists
(including some information on
their backgrounds)? What roles will
they play on the panel?
■ ■ What are the key topics that will be
covered by the panel? By me?
■ ■ What level is the program? Basic?
A good moderator will play an active role in drafting and developing an
outline for the program, determining
who will be the best conduit for establishing specific points, and coordinating the panelists’ presentations, talking
points, and materials that will be
presented. It is critical that the panelists participate in an initial telephone
call to establish the groundwork for
the presentation, circulate materials
among the group, and then hold a final
call to ensure alignment.
Once the panelists have reviewed
and developed the program’s outline
and approach, each individual can
develop his or her content. Again, the
content should be directed at the intended audience and provide clear and
practical advice. If the presentation
will include slides, they should be used
to summarize the relevant issues and
practical tips for handling them. The
slides should highlight the subject matter covered, but should not be overly
detailed. The panelists can illustrate the
topic with stories and/or hypotheticals
that will drive home the relevant points
in an interesting way. The slides should
minimize the use of case citations and
should not include detailed summa-ries of statutes, regulations, and legal
opinions. (If appropriate, the panel
might consider making a supplemental handout available at the end of the
presentation containing more detailed
information, which would be appropriate for a more detailed follow up).
Slides should be visually interesting, as well. Consider adding images
to enhance the presentation and help
maintain the audience’s attention.
Further, panelists may consider using
videos during their presentations to
establish certain facts if they will be
role-playing. Instead of a slide providing a number of hypothetical facts,
an exchange between individuals in
a video shown to the audience makes
the presentation more dynamic and
conveys the information necessary for
the scenario in a fresh manner.
Does the presentation lend itself to
polling the audience? At one ACC NCR
program on ethics issues, the speaker
presented a hypothetical and then polled
the attendees about various ways to analyze the issue. He then used the results as
a springboard into discussing the ethical
rules, and what factors may have led
some to reaching the wrong conclusion.
Panelists should be comfortable
with all the materials that are being
shared during the presentation. Since
sections of each presentation are often
prepared and revised by the moderator
or a single panel member, it is critical
that all panelists review and are familiar
with the contents to avoid any potential
disconnects or duplication of material.
Then, you need to practice, practice,
practice to ensure that you master the
materials that you will present. If you
tend to get nervous, thorough preparation may help you manage your
nerves. It also will help you determine
how long your material will take to
deliver, allowing you to adjust if necessary to stay within your allotted time.
And, the better prepared you are, the
more you can concentrate on your
delivery and the audience.
When you arrive at the event, you need
to be your best you. How you conduct
yourself before and during the panel will
impact how effectively your message is
received. Some things to keep in mind:
■ ■ Dress the part of an authority.
Even if your work environment
is business casual, that is not
necessarily appropriate for a panel.
■ ■ Speak deliberately and with
confidence. If it’s comfortable for
you, you may want to walk around.
At the very least, try to gesture and
be expressive. You must project
Ten steps to become a successful presenter
1. Be proactive: Develop areas of expertise that will
make you a knowledgeable speaker and actively seek
opportunities to participate as a panelist.
2. Be thorough: Once you are chosen to present,
be sure to prepare diligently.
3. Practice: Make sure that you have mastered your content.
4. Collaborate: Prior to and during any presentation, coordinate
with your fellow panelists to get the best results.
5. Focus: Whether as a panelist or as a moderator, ensure that you
address your role and the subjects you’ve been designated to cover.
6. Engage: Be sure to address the needs of your audience, speak to
them directly and ensure you are covering their areas of interest.
7. Entertain: While not a performance, using humor and a
lighter approach will keep your audience involved.
8. Illustrate: Examples will help you make your
points and keep the audience engaged.
9. Be complete: Pace yourself so you get through your material.
10. Provide takeaways: At the end of the presentation, your
audience should have specific, concrete ideas that
they can apply to the issues they confront.