Plan a Successful Conference Panel Discussion with this Great GuideLanghams
Most people are immediately bored the minute they hear the word ‘conference’. What could be the cause of this? The same old 5-hour long PowerPoint presentation splattered with default fonts, and then there is the odd break for defrosted finger foods in a room full of bland furniture. It sounds like an underwhelming nightmare.
At Langhams Executive Conferencing, we provide facilities and services that allow for some welcome tweaks to conference culture.
We compiled this brief guide on the do’s and don’ts of hosting a conference panel discussion successfully. Use it, don’t use it (no, really, use it!) – just don’t say we didn’t warn you.
What to Do:
- Manage time well – people don’t want to feel like they’re trapped in an hours-long talk. The number of key speakers must be less than 5, with about 5 minutes to present each. This allows for enough Q&A time while the audience still has some concentration.
- Ensure the moderator and panelists have prepared well in advance – Confirm that your key speakers are fully aware of your expectations. Do follow-ups least twice prior to the event.
- Keep everyone on the same page – communicate all the necessary details. Host a conference call or lunch meeting to discuss progress and create familiarity.
- Organise an out-of-the-box setup – be creative about how you prepare the room. Make it engaging and exciting for attendees and speakers.
- Find a suitable moderator for the specific topic – this person must lead the conversation without taking over and engage the audience for Q&A purposes. They must be knowledgeable, current and lively.
What Not to Do
- Don’t invite predictable speakers – be creative with your panelists. Consider journalists, academics and small business owners who’ve engaged the topic before.
- Don’t over-prepare – this could dilute the authenticity of the conference panel discussion. Allow it to unfold organically.
- Don’t use a single handheld mic – leave “passing the mic” to battling rappers. Rather use body mics to enable free movement and a seamless flow in the discussion.
- Don’t pinch on question time – leave enough time for questions at the end. Therefore, preparation and time management are important.
- Don’t do slideshows – they take away from the whole point of a discussion. You need the audience to engage what is said by the panelists and moderator.
Join us at Langhams for top tier conference facilities in Johannesburg. Contact us online or call 011 465 5086/7 today.
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Sales Account Manager
Sales Account Manager