One of the most beneficial things that you can add to your event is a panel of experts who are there to discuss a topic or answer questions. Having a variety of experts can be a huge bonus to event attendees because they will have the benefit of having more than one point of view. However, there is quite a bit of planning that must be put into adding a panel session to an event as well as a number of things that should be considered.
What to Consider
Not everyone is a fan of panel sessions. There are many reasons for this; there tends to be too many people on the panel, they are difficult to hear or understand, and sometimes they are too polite with one another.
You also should consider the amount of time that you have allotted for the panel and make sure that it is enough time to be valuable. Keep in mind the number of people that you have on the panel, the questions or topics that are going to be reviewed and compare these items to the amount of time that each panelist will have to speak.
Have a moderator
In order to keep things running smoothly, a moderator can be very beneficial. This will eliminate the need for one of the panelists to step in as the leader and take control of the session. Instead, the panelists will be able to relax and focus on the topic at hand without needing to worry about keeping the session moving along in a timely manner.
A moderator can also help if panelists find themselves lingering on one subject for an extended period of time. This moderator will be able to make sure that the panelists keep the discussion moving in a positive direction.
Topics and Panelists
When you are deciding on the topics for your panelists to review, you should make sure and keep the theme of your event in mind. If possible have the attendees fill out a card at the beginning of the event regarding the topics that they would like to see covered by the panelists.
In order to make the session interesting, select panelists who have a differing opinion on the topic at hand. Having multiple members of a panel that all agree on the subject will not offer any benefit to attendees and will quickly become one sided.
Don’t be afraid to be creative with the setup of your session. Sometimes a more informal setting can make the panel session more exciting and fun for both the attendees and the panelists. When everyone is having a good time, more quality information will be relayed.
Adding a panel discussion to your event can be a very beneficial thing for your attendees. However, you must be careful to plan it correctly so that they are receiving the best information possible from your field of experts. It is also best to allow plenty of time for attendees to interact with the panelists so that they will feel more involved with the whole process.