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panel discussion

Ensuring a Win for Your Audience Is the Best Goal for a Panel Discussion

Ensuring a Win for Your Audience Is the Best Goal for a Panel Discussion 1307 878 I Need A Speaker

By Jeannine Luby, Marketing Communications Consultant

In the words of Principal Ava Coleman, “We have to win this panel.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xlSTJjmEDw).

One episode of the ABC sitcom “Abbott Elementary” featured Principal Ava Coleman and her favorite teacher, Gregory Eddie, representing their school at a panel discussion that turns into a competition. Every response delivered was scored based on the audience’s enthusiastic nods and applause, or lack thereof.  Ava was feeling especially motivated, given that her competition was her nemesis and former sorority sister Krystal, the principal from another Philadelphia school.

While this idea of competing to win a panel discussion makes for a humorous sitcom premise, it raises a good question:  What would it look like to win a panel discussion?

What Does a Win Look Like?

Barbara Howard, a kindergarten teacher at the fictional Abbott Elementary offered this advice to Mr. Eddie, “The best response is the one given with a smile.”

That is generally sound advice, as a speaker who smiles appears friendly, warm, and approachable. However, if you’re giving a talk on mortality rates, you might want to save the smile for another time.  Context is important. Facial expressions should match the tone of the topic and your message points.

Mr. Eddie went to the panel with a rather apathetic attitude and the goal of talking with other educators saying maybe he could learn from them.

Learning is always admirable, but connecting with other panelists should not be your primary goal.

A panelist is there to deliver value to the audience. That doesn’t mean you can’t get to know your fellow panelists. In fact, it’s smart to reach out to them prior to the discussion to compare notes.  Repeating key points for the audience’s retention is one thing, but rehashing information is not helpful. Check out our previous post about this.

Focus on your audience’s needs. While it’s great for speakers to find common ground and mutual interest, you have an audience who came to learn something from you. Keep them engaged. You can always grab a drink after the event or schedule a follow-up coffee if you want to talk shop with fellow panelists.

Showmanship vs. Substance

If you’ve watched Abbott Elementary, you know that Principal Coleman is all about style. She could school anyone on glitz and glam, yet she struggled to compete with her counterpart in the panel discussion who shared anthems that rallied parents in the audience.

When asked what the single most important thing is about being a leader, Ava’s response of, “Showing up, looking good, and being on,” was met with silence.

While Krystal’s response of, “Being a leader means asking yourself: Would I follow me?” was met with fervent support and applause.

Slick, sound-bite style answers continued to win over the audience. Does that constitute a win?

Tech writer Aditya Kumar Singh wrote, “In an era driven by social media and instant gratification, the allure of showmanship in the tech and research industry is undeniable.”  While his article published on Medium.com on June 5, 2023 (https://medium.com/@sadityakumar9211/unmasking-the-showmanship-culture-in-the-tech-and-research-industry-all-glam-no-substance-25cc5fb11482), is about a specific industry, his words can apply to any industry.  He wrote “Underneath the glitz and glamour, however, lies a troubling reality: the absence of meaningful work. The showmanship culture often masks a lack of substantial achievements or tangible results. It fosters an environment where style triumphs over substance, and the focus shifts from genuine progress to mere appearances.”

The substance of your panel discussion content matters. That’s what your audience deserves, so bring your A game (no, that doesn’t stand for Ava).

 

 

Photo source: IMDB

Celebrating Inclusion on International Women’s Day: How to Support Diversity in the Public Speaking Industry

Celebrating Inclusion on International Women’s Day: How to Support Diversity in the Public Speaking Industry 672 1187 I Need A Speaker

By Tricia Richards-Service

As we celebrate International Women’s Day 2024 with its theme ‘Inspire Inclusion’, it is important to reflect on how we can foster diversity and representation in all aspects of society. In the realm of public speaking, where voices are amplified and ideas are shared, promoting inclusion is not just a noble pursuit but a necessary one.

Here are some actionable steps to support inclusion in the public speaking industry:

Diversify Speaker Lineups: Event organizers and conference planners should make a conscious effort to diversify their speaker lineups. This means actively seeking out speakers from different backgrounds, including women, people of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, and those with disabilities. By showcasing a diverse range of voices, events become more enriching and representative of society as a whole.

Provide Opportunities for Emerging Voices: Mentorship programs and speaker training initiatives can play a crucial role in nurturing emerging voices in the public speaking arena. Providing support and guidance to individuals who may not have had access to traditional speaking opportunities can help bridge the gap and amplify new perspectives.

Challenge Biases and Stereotypes: Inclusive language and imagery matter. It’s essential to challenge biases and stereotypes that perpetuate exclusion in the public speaking industry. This includes avoiding gendered language, refraining from making assumptions about speakers based on their appearance or background, and actively addressing unconscious biases in speaker selection processes.

Create Safe and Welcoming Spaces: Creating safe and welcoming spaces is paramount to fostering inclusion in public speaking events. This involves implementing policies and protocols to prevent harassment and discrimination, as well as ensuring that venues are accessible to individuals with disabilities. Additionally, promoting a culture of respect and inclusivity among attendees can help create an environment where everyone feels valued and heard.

Amplify Underrepresented Voices: As audience members, we have the power to amplify underrepresented voices in the public speaking industry. This can be done by actively listening to and engaging with speakers from marginalized communities, sharing their content on social media, and advocating for their inclusion in future events. By using our platforms to uplift others, we contribute to a more equitable and inclusive speaking landscape.

In conclusion, supporting inclusion in the public speaking industry is not just a matter of diversity, but of social justice and empowerment. By championing diverse voices, challenging biases, and creating inclusive spaces, we can create a public speaking landscape that reflects the richness and diversity of our world. As we mark International Women’s Day 2024, let us recommit ourselves to the ongoing work of building a more inclusive and equitable future for all.

I Need A Speaker is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. It’s easy to book diverse speakers through I Need A Speaker. Browse our global directory and contact your selected speakers, or email info@ineedaspeaker.com for details, speaker recommendations, and speaker availability.

Photo source: Canva

Q&A Sessions: Tips for Speakers to Shine

Q&A Sessions: Tips for Speakers to Shine 664 439 I Need A Speaker

By Tricia Richards-Service

Question and answer (Q&A) sessions are often the make-or-break moments of a presentation. While delivering a prepared speech is one thing, handling spontaneous inquiries from the audience requires quick thinking, diplomacy, and clarity.

Mastering the art of Q&A sessions not only showcases your expertise but also strengthens your connection with the audience. In this blog post, we’ll explore some valuable tips for speakers to handle Q&A sessions effectively and leave a positive, lasting impression.

Prepare Mentally: Before your presentation, anticipate potential questions that might arise based on your topic. This proactive approach allows you to prepare thoughtful responses in advance. However, remain flexible, as unexpected questions are inevitable. Mentally prepare yourself to stay calm and composed regardless of the nature of the queries.

Listen Carefully: During the Q&A session, actively listen to each question. Give the audience your full attention, maintain eye contact, and avoid interrupting. Listening carefully not only ensures that you understand the question but also demonstrates respect for the questioner and the audience as a whole.

Clarify if Necessary: If a question is unclear or ambiguous, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Politely request additional information to ensure that you address the query accurately. Clarifying questions not only help you provide relevant answers but also prevent misunderstandings.

Repeat the Question: After a question is asked, repeat it aloud for the benefit of the entire audience. This serves two purposes: first, it ensures that everyone hears the question clearly, especially in large auditoriums or virtual settings. Second, restating the question gives you a few extra seconds to formulate your response coherently.

Structure Your Responses: Organize your answers in a clear and structured manner. Begin by briefly summarizing the question to provide context, then proceed to address the main points concisely. Avoid rambling or going off-topic. Structure your responses to be informative, relevant, and easy for the audience to follow.

Be Honest and Transparent: Authenticity is key during Q&A sessions. If you don’t know the answer to a question, admit it gracefully. Offer to follow up with the questioner later or suggest credible resources where they can find more information. Being honest and transparent fosters trust and credibility with your audience.

Manage Time Wisely: Keep an eye on the clock and manage the Q&A session’s duration effectively. Allocate sufficient time for questions while ensuring that the session doesn’t overrun. If necessary, politely inform the audience when you’ll be taking the last question to maintain control over the proceedings.

Handle Challenging Questions with Diplomacy: Not all questions will be easy or favorable. When faced with challenging or confrontational inquiries, respond diplomatically and tactfully. Avoid becoming defensive or dismissive. Acknowledge the validity of differing viewpoints, and strive to address concerns respectfully, even if you disagree.

End on a Positive Note: As the Q&A session draws to a close, express gratitude to the audience for their participation and insightful questions. Reiterate key points from your presentation, and conclude on a positive and uplifting note. Ending the session on a high note leaves a lasting impression and reinforces your message.

Successfully navigating Q&A sessions is a valuable skill that enhances your effectiveness as a speaker. By preparing mentally, actively listening, structuring your responses, and maintaining authenticity, you can handle Q&A sessions with confidence and finesse.

Remember, Q&A sessions are opportunities to engage with your audience, showcase your expertise, and build rapport. Embrace them as integral parts of your presentations.

 

Photo source: Canva

How to Create an Impactful Sizzle Reel

How to Create an Impactful Sizzle Reel 658 439 I Need A Speaker

By Tricia Richards-Service

In the dynamic world of public speaking, a captivating sizzle reel, also known as a speaker reel, is an invaluable tool. It serves as a showcase of your expertise, charisma, and ability to engage audiences effectively. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting your speaking career, a well-crafted sizzle reel can make all the difference in landing speaking engagements and leaving a lasting impression on potential clients and event organizers.

To create the most impact, your speaker reel should include specific elements. Let’s review each of them.

Clarity of Message: Clearly communicate your expertise and the topics you cover. Define your niche and ensure that your reel reflects your unique perspective and insights. Choose clips that align with your brand and the message you want to convey to your target audience.

Engaging Content: Select clips that showcase your ability to captivate and connect with audiences. Choose moments where the audience is positively responding non-verbally. Include segments where you demonstrate enthusiasm, humor, and passion for your subject matter. Aim to evoke an emotional response from viewers and keep them engaged from start to finish.

Variety and Diversity: When possible, incorporate a diverse range of speaking engagements, including keynotes, workshops, panel discussions, and interviews. Showcase your versatility as a speaker and highlight different aspects of your expertise. If you have two areas of speaking experience, you may want to consider a separate reel for each, such as one for keynotes and one for workshops.

The Right Setting: Videos of you speaking on a large stage with proper lighting will serve you better than videos of you in a small conference room or classroom. Take advantage of the auditorium or large-venue setting by getting video of yourself being miked, walking onto the stage, and taking a bow as your audience applauds.

Professional Production Quality: Invest in high-quality audio and video production to ensure that your reel looks and sounds polished. Poor audio or shaky footage can detract from your message and undermine your credibility as a speaker. It’s worth every penny to hire a professional videographer/editor to enhance the overall production value of your reel.

Brevity: No one will watch a 30-minute presentation. Keep your speaker reel concise and focused, typically between 1 to 3 minutes in length. Ensure that it’s long enough to capture your expertise and audience engagement, yet not too long to turn off potential bookings. Remove any unnecessary filler and only include the most impactful and relevant clips. Remember, your goal is to capture the viewer’s attention quickly and leave them wanting to learn more about you.

Branding: If you have a speaker brand, ask your video editor to include it to emphasize your name and topic.

Strong Opening and Closing: Start your reel with a compelling hook that grabs the viewer’s attention right away. Use your strongest clips at the beginning to make a memorable first impression. Similarly, end your reel with a clear call to action, such as directing viewers to the I Need A Speaker website. By referring people to your I Need A Speaker profile, you have the full support of our team.

Testimonials and Social Proof: Show your audience on the reel, focusing on your interaction with them. Incorporate testimonials or endorsements from previous clients, event organizers, or audience members to add credibility to your reel. Positive feedback from others can reinforce your expertise and persuade potential clients to book you for their events.

Optimization for Online Viewing: Given that most people will view your speaker reel online, optimize it for digital platforms. Ensure that it’s easily shareable, mobile-friendly, and compatible with various devices and screen sizes. Consider adding subtitles or captions to make your content more accessible to a wider audience.

Regular Updates: Keep your speaker reel up to date by periodically refreshing it with new clips and content. As you gain more experience and expand your speaking portfolio, update your reel to reflect your latest achievements and accomplishments.

A well-executed speaker reel is a powerful tool for showcasing your expertise and attracting speaking opportunities. By focusing on these elements, you can create a compelling reel that effectively highlights your strengths as a speaker.

Invest the time and effort into crafting a standout speaker reel, and you’ll be well-positioned to impress clients, event organizers, and audiences alike.

 

 

Photo source: Canva

Practice Pronunciation Prior to Presenting (Say That Five Times Fast!)

Practice Pronunciation Prior to Presenting (Say That Five Times Fast!) 550 375 I Need A Speaker

By Tricia Richards-Service

I have attended far too many presentations during which a speaker didn’t take the time to learn the correct pronunciation of terminology or names.

Emcees have hesitated when introducing a main speaker, stumbling over the keynoter’s name.

Speakers have unsuccessfully tried – multiple times in front of their audience – to properly say an unfamiliar term.

Today’s advice is simple: Learn the pronunciation of unfamiliar words and names, and practice often before you speak. By doing so, you’ll appear well prepared, add to your credibility, and show respect for others.

 

 

Photo source: Canva

How to Write a Compelling Presentation Title

How to Write a Compelling Presentation Title 668 375 I Need A Speaker

By Tricia Richards-Service

Your presentation title serves as the initial point of engagement for your audience, setting the tone for what lies ahead. Let us explore strategic methodologies to ensure your titles captivate, intrigue, and ultimately inspire audience engagement.

Audience Analysis: Prior to drafting your title, think about your audience demographics, interests, and expectations, and tailor your title to resonate. For instance, for a presentation targeting corporate leaders, consider a title like “Navigating Digital Disruption: Strategies for C-Suite Executives”.

Clarity and Brevity: Opt for clarity and brevity in your title, encapsulating the essence of your presentation. Avoid ambiguity or verbosity that may obscure your message. A clear and concise title like “Mastering Data Analytics: Unlocking Business Insights” effectively communicates the subject matter.

Evoke Curiosity: Infuse your title with elements of intrigue and curiosity to capture the interest of your audience. Choose words that hint at the promise of valuable insights or solutions. Inspire curiosity with a title like “The Hidden Power of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership”.

Highlight Value Proposition: Showcase the benefits or solutions offered by your presentation within the title itself. Encourage audience attendance with titles like “Revolutionizing Customer Experience: Innovative Strategies for Growth,” which emphasizes tangible benefits.

Creativity and Originality: Embrace creativity and originality to differentiate your title from others and leave a memorable impression. Incorporate metaphorical language, wordplay, or striking imagery to captivate attention. For instance, a creatively crafted title such as “The Art of Storytelling: Painting Pictures with Words” adds a distinct flair to your presentation.

Choose Power Words: Integrate power words—dynamic, emotionally resonant terms that evoke strong reactions—into your title to enhance impact. Employ words such as “empower,” “transform,” or “inspire” to convey dynamism and urgency. For instance, a title like “Empowering Tomorrow’s Leaders: Strategies for Success” conveys a sense of empowerment and motivation.

Revise Until You’re Pleased: Experiment with variations and solicit feedback from peers. Continuously refine your title until it effectively encapsulates the essence of your presentation. For example, refine a title like “Unleashing Creativity in the Workplace: Strategies for Innovation” based on feedback to ensure maximum resonance.

Align with Content: Ensure alignment between your title and the substantive content of your presentation to foster audience trust and credibility. Misalignment may lead to disengagement and disillusionment among attendees. Validate the accuracy and relevance of your title in representing the presentation’s content. For instance, ensure that a title like “The Future of Sustainable Technologies” accurately reflects the thematic focus of your presentation.

SEO Considerations: If your presentation will be shared online, consider incorporating relevant keywords into your title to enhance search engine visibility. Optimize your title for SEO to facilitate audience discovery and accessibility. For instance, incorporate keywords such as “innovation,” “leadership,” or “best practices” to improve online searchability.

Encourage Action: Conclude your title with a compelling call to action or invitation to engage with the presentation. Motivate attendees to register, participate in discussions, or share insights to foster active audience involvement. For instance, conclude a title like “Navigating Change: Strategies for Adapting in a Dynamic Landscape” with an invitation to join a post-presentation networking session to further explore strategies for adaptation.

Armed with these strategic principles, you have the tools you need to craft presentation titles that resonate with your audience, elicit curiosity, and encourage meaningful engagement.

 

 

Photo credit: Image by Canva

Don’t Make This Rookie Mistake

Don’t Make This Rookie Mistake 318 312 I Need A Speaker

By Tricia Richards-Service

One common mistake that new speakers often make is neglecting the importance of pacing and pausing during their speech. Many inexperienced speakers tend to rush through their content without allowing for natural pauses. This can make it difficult for the audience to follow the message and can diminish the overall impact of the speech.

Effective pacing and well-timed pauses allow the audience to absorb information, emphasize key points, and create a more engaging delivery. It’s important for speakers to practice and be mindful of their pace, incorporating intentional pauses to let ideas sink in and to create a more dynamic and captivating presentation.

 

Photo credit: Image by Canva

Five Things to Do the Night Before Your Presentation

Five Things to Do the Night Before Your Presentation 670 441 I Need A Speaker

By Tricia Richards-Service

Here are five things speakers should consider doing the night before a presentation to ensure they are well-prepared and confident:

  1. Review and Practice: Go through your presentation one last time to ensure you are familiar with the content. Practice your delivery, paying attention to your tone, pace, and body language.
  2. Check Technology: Ensure that all the technical aspects of your presentation are in order. Test your slides, audio, and any other multimedia elements. Charge your devices and have backup plans in case of technical issues.
  3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep: A well-rested mind is crucial for effective communication. Aim for a full night’s sleep to ensure you are alert and focused during your presentation.
  4. Prepare Materials: Organize and pack any materials you’ll need for the presentation, such as handouts, business cards, or props. Having everything ready in advance will help you avoid last-minute stress.
  5. Relax and Visualize Success: Take some time to relax and visualize yourself delivering a successful presentation. Positive visualization can boost your confidence and help calm any nerves.

Remember, preparation is key, and these steps can contribute to a successful and confident presentation.

 

 

 

Photo credit: Image by Canva

10 ways to prep now for success in the future

10 ways to prep now for success in the future 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

Summer months are often a time to stop working and enjoy leisure time. We believe the slower season is also a great time to prepare for the future. Here are 10 ways to level up as a speaker this summer:

  1. Add some impactful visual or audio aids to your presentations.
  2. Collect updated data and include it in your content.
  3. Create downloadable resource materials for your audience.
  4. Practice, practice, practice!
  5. Record yourself and critique your performance.
  6. Post videos of your presentations online, so event planners can see your performance.
  7. Review previous evaluations to determine where you can improve.
  8. Create or update your speaker sheet.
  9. Write an introductory message to potential clients.
  10. Update your profile on I Need A Speaker.

These steps take little time and can have great impact, leaving you plenty of time to relax.

What do you do to prepare for the future?

 

 

Photo credit: Pexels

Book our speakers now for fall and winter events

Book our speakers now for fall and winter events 2560 1920 I Need A Speaker

Summer is in full swing, and it’s easy to get caught up in outdoor recreation and barbecues. We aren’t rushing you back from vacation, but we do want to remind you that this is the perfect time to book speakers for fall and winter.

Speakers need time to prepare their talks, as well as to customize presentations or plan travel when necessary.

We invite event planners to create a free account on I Need A Speaker (if you haven’t already done so) and contact speakers for your meeting facilitation, panel discussions, classroom guest lectures, keynote presentations, and more.

Whether planning for your vacation or planning for an event, it’s the advance work that makes all the difference.

 

Photo credit: Pexels / Jess Bailey Designs

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