energy and interest in the subject
matter because if you seem bored,
your audience will follow your lead.
You need to sell what you are saying.
■ ■ Connect with your audience. You
want to make eye contact with the
audience, and look at the other
panelists when they are speaking.
Ask other panelists questions or for
their opinions. Ask the audience
a controlled question to gauge
their experience (“How many of
you have…?”) and integrate that
information into your presentation.
Often, the most enlightening points
come up during unscripted sidebar
discussions among the panelists.
■ ■ Ensure the flow of the
presentation. You should aim for a
smooth delivery. Avoid “um,” “you
know,” “like,” and “sort of.” Those
fillers will undercut the impression
you want to make.
■ ■ Be self-aware. Your audience will
contain a diverse group of lawyers
who may have wildly different
experiences. Be mindful of that
fact when you are preparing your
presentation and when you are
addressing them. Be confident, but
don’t take yourself too seriously.
Engage in a dialogue; don’t lecture.
And be sure to emphasize the
practical aspects of what your panel
■ ■ Keep an even pace. Watch the clock
Equally important are these “don’ts”:
and manage your time effectively to
cover all your material within the
time you have been allotted. If you
are running over, skip slides to stay
on schedule. Never eat into another
■ ■ Do not fidget or otherwise
distract from the other speakers.
Be respectful of other panelists
while they are presenting. If you
must review notes to prepare for
your upcoming segment, do so
carefully and without drawing
attention to yourself.
■ ■ Don’t read your slides. Highlight
something of note on a particular
slide, but do not repeat word for
word what is contained on it.
One note of caution: If the screen
on which your slides are being
presented is behind you, be mindful
of looking backwards when talking.
This is a natural tendency and
utterly ruins any connection you are
trying to make with the audience.
■ ■ Don’t leave your mobile device on
while you are on a panel. You don’t
want to run the risk that it may
ring or vibrate or otherwise distract
you while you are speaking, or
otherwise disrupt the presentation.
We should make a note about the use
of humor. Regardless of their pedigree,
— but there’s no reason that we can’t
entertain them in the process.
A successful moderator will keep
things moving and manage the time,
making smooth transitions between
panelists, and asking relevant and
productive questions. Ideally, your
panel’s preparation has revealed which
speakers should address certain areas,
adding to the value of your participation and easing any anxiety you might
have about the event. And, ever the
diplomat, the moderator will politely
manage the presenters if they talk
for too long. If the panel includes
Lawyering your presentation
You wouldn’t be a good lawyer if you didn’t make sure that someone makes
these two disclaimers at the outset of the presentation:
■ ■ “All remarks made by today’s panelists are their own opinions, and do
not constitute legal advice or necessarily reflect the viewpoints of their
company or firm.”
■ ■ “Please observe ‘The Chatham House Rule’ with regard to the speakers’
comments. You are free to use the information received, but neither
the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other
participant, may be revealed.”
54 ASSOCIATION OF CORPORATE COUNSEL
SPEAK UP AND SHINE AS A SPEAKER OR MODERATOR