Hosting a panel discussion can be a valuable opportunity to dive into a topic in depth and from multiple perspectives. Whether it's part of a conference, a standalone event, or a series, here's how to ensure that your panel discussion is both enlightening and engaging.
The topic you choose sets the tone for the entire discussion. It should be relevant, timely, and of interest to your target audience. You could consider adding a small fun skill, like a quick trivia quiz related to the topic, at the beginning to warm up the audience.
Pick the Right Panelists
The expertise and charisma of your panelists are crucial. They should be authorities on the topic and able to articulate complex ideas clearly. Spice things up by having a live sketch artist illustrate key points during the discussion.
Time and Place
Select a time and venue that suits your audience. The space should be comfortable and technologically equipped to meet the needs of your panelists and attendees. Consider having a small wellness corner where attendees can get a quick hand massage during breaks.
Create a Flow
Structure the discussion so it has a natural flow, starting with introductions, followed by main points, and concluding with a Q&A. Adding an interactive art session afterward can help participants digest and discuss what they've learned.
Engage the Audience
Interactive elements can make your panel discussion more engaging. Use live polls or Q&A sessions to involve the audience in real time. An adjacent latte art station could serve as a networking hub during breaks.
Time management is key. Allocate specific time slots to each section of the discussion to ensure you cover all bases without rushing. Setting up a simple cooking demo on the side could offer an additional engagement point without taking too much time.
Master the Tech
A/V glitches can ruin a good panel discussion. Test all your equipment in advance and ensure you have backup options. Having a virtual cocktail class option can be a unique way to keep remote attendees engaged.
Market the Event
Use all available channels to promote your event. Social media, newsletters, and partnerships are all effective ways to get the word out. A brief scavenger hunt related to the topic can also serve as a unique promotional tool.
A smooth panel discussion often involves at least one rehearsal. This ensures everyone is on the same page and can help you iron out any kinks.
After the event, thank your panelists and your audience. Share key takeaways or a video recap to continue the discussion and solidify the relationships you've built.
If you're looking for ways to make your next panel discussion truly stand out, consider incorporating a unique experience. Spaciously can help you seamlessly add activities that fit naturally with the event's theme and flow, making it more interactive and memorable.