Say yes to all opportunities!

Penny Haslam Panel Chair

I strongly advocate you say YES to opportunities to expose yourself (stop it!) and raise your profile – even if the opportunity seems all a bit scary biscuits.

You might, for example, get asked to take part in a panel at an event or conference. These discussions are a mainstay of most live gatherings and hoover up panellist-volunteers like you wouldn’t believe.

But what if you get asked to CHAIR a panel? And how do you go about doing it well?

It certainly isn’t a role where you can just show up on the day, ask a list of questions and hope it all works out. Although I’ve been at plenty of events where the chair appears to have taken that approach.

Whatever the circumstances for finding yourself as the person asking the questions and driving the discussion, I would recommend you take it seriously. OWN IT! Because it’s an opportunity to shine, stand out, be seen as credible, charming and authoritative.

The job is wide ranging, but the main bits as I see them, based on years of experience as a panel chair, are:

  • Creating rapport and keeping up the energy among the panellists.
  • Structuring a 30-45 minute ‘conversation’ that bobs and weaves, with plenty of take homes for the audience.
  • Keep everything running bang on time.

It really is what you make it and there is much more to it that just that. Read my blog here for a check-list for panel chairs before, during and after the event.