Anxious about public speaking? Participating in a panel discussion is often less nerve wrecking than giving a full presentation. It can also be a great first step for aspiring speakers.
Here are four tips to help you pave the way:
1) Preparation is key
Do some research on the topics to be discussed and your audience. Be aware of who your co-panellists will be and what they will bring to the table. Ask what questions will be covered, how much time you will be allocated, and prepare some talking points in advance. But be prepared to improvise on the spot.
2) Be proactive
It is not necessary to wait for the moderator to invite you for a comment. Instead, be dynamic and feel free to chime in with an opinion or differing point of view when another panellist is done talking.
3) Eye contact
Do not focus all your attention on the moderator. Having eye contact with your audience can help you make a better connection as you drive your points across.
4) Dress for success
With all eyes on you, it makes sense to wear something smart to boost your credibility. Panellists are often seated on a raised platform or stage. Wearing pants, or a longer skirt can help female panellists feel less self conscious.