Reflections on Panel Presentations
Christopher A. Pizzi
March 24, 2023
A panel presentation is challenging for several reasons. In a panel presentation you must be good at balancing the need to get your message across with the message the audience wants to receive. The best panel presentations seem to answer all the audience’s questions about the topics being discussed while making it compelling, informative and conversational. It is difficult to prevent panelists from rambling on about insignificant information, while trying to keep the audience engaged.
In doing our panel presentation for our capstone, and all of us doing this for the first time, I found it difficult to have a script, yet make the illusion it was a discussion. I am much better at discussing things than working off of a script. I learned that instead of a script, I would much rather prepare for the discussion points and exude my knowledge through impromptu discussion. I also learned that I can do it - meaning I have the knowledge and the background to be an expert panelist. However, I would need to practice. Like everything, the more you practice, the better you will be. With that comes developing natural responses and standardized trigger memory to reflect on audience questions.
I also reviewed two of the panel discussions from last semester capstonians.
The first one was discussing unions, with Ilda Andaluz, Jasmine Lair and Thomas Johnson. They set up their discussion with Ilda as the moderator, and was more like a question and answer with respect to their capstone research papers. There was no powerpoint to go along with the discussion. Discussions included:
· Disconnect between the C-suite and the workforce
· Organizational structure
· Why private companies are leery of unions
· Union use of promoting through social media
· How U.S. companies navigate foreign unions
· And more
As someone who deals with unions on a daily basis, these topics were engaging, and were varied. This kept my interest, and so did the moderator who kept things moving and transitioning from one topic to the other. I thought this style worked very well.
The second panel discussion was on Compliance & Employee Experience, with Pam Ranson, Rachel Turner, Cathy Golden, and Kaleigh Cope. Some of the topics were:
· Workplace investigations
· Pay transparency
· Complying with laws in HR processes
Title VII, FLSA, FMLA, and I9 regulations
· Affirmative defenses
· Background checks
The panel was done with a powerpoint presentation that was viewable. Most of the topics were things I needed to know more about, and the panelist, brought depth of understanding and great opinions regarding all the topics. They kept the discussions moving, but there was not one moderator, the seemed to have the style of passing the moderator role around by script. Which worked well.
I like the style of having a specific moderator, and also like the style that is more conversational. Having a powerpoint seemed to distract and bring the feel of a script or agenda.
Overall, giving a panel presentation is not easy, and there is a very defined ‘art’ to it. This takes practice and honing your knowledge to become not only an expert in your topic, but an expert in panel presentation delivery. For those doing this often, I give them a lot of credit.
"If it weren't for the people" © 2022 by Christopher A. Pizzi is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0