What is the most effective way to communicate if you have been asked to appear on a panel discussion?
In a panel discussion, you are seated and it is not your keynote address. You are not speaking for an hour or more. Here is the problem with panel discussions: people tend to take it very lightly thinking that they are not giving a keynote speech so it will be very easy. They think they can just get up and wing it. That is a very wrong assumption. A panel discussion is still an opportunity for you to be in the spotlight. It is an opportunity for you to fail to meet expectations or to dramatically exceed expectations. So why shouldn’t you exceed them when you can?
Even on a panel discussion, you can make a bad impression by communicating a horrible message which people were remember nothing of. So it is an opportunity for you to communicate specific positive messages that you want people to remember.So if you know in advance that you will be a part of a panel discussion, you need to go into it with the idea that you want to exceed Expectations and you want people to remember specific messages that you have for them.
In most panel discussions they give you time to make introductory remarks. They may give you 5 or 10 minutes or even less. That may not seem like a lot of time but you can still prepare because even the Gettysburg address was only 2 minutes long. Now you will not be using PowerPoint slides but you can certainly make sure that you have notes or an outline.
Just make sure that you have something interesting to say to your audience. If you do not have a lot of time focus on one interesting insight that you think no one else is going to talk about. You might not think of it as a speech but it is in fact a speech. So plan as you normally would for any other keynote speech practice.