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Part of being a small business owner sometimes means having to step outside of your comfort zone for exciting business ventures, fun networking events, and new opportunities.Cue: Speaking on Your First Panel! First of all, CONGRATULATIONS on landing your first speaking gig. (brushes shoulders off) If you're not a natural (yet!) at public speaking, speaking on your first panel can seem a little daunting or overwhelming in the beginning. When I was given the opportunity to speak on my first one, I was SO nervous!! So many thoughts were running through my head, like... "they want to hear from me?!", "what should I share?" "which topics would be the best to cover," and so on. HAHA PLANOLY Pro Tip: Utilize our many resources to help you prepare for your panel! Download some of our worksheets, plan your content on social to keep your audience in the loop, and strategize for your event ahead of time.Bonus: It's great to create a recap post afterward if you're able to gather images from the photographer at the panel. And if not, you can also share a glimpse inside the panel via IG Stories. (Don't forget to use StoriesEdit to customize your templates!) Below, I'm breaking down a few Tips and Best Practices to keep in mind whenever you're preparing to speak on your very first panel. These are things I learned along the way after having spoken on my first one last year, and things that I hope will help you get ready for yours. Read on for more!
5 Tips Towards Panel Prep:
- Take Note - Usually, you'll know the discussion topic beforehand, and you'll have a few weeks to prep! This is the best time to get your talking points and notes ready for the panel. (And bring some along if needed!)
- Bring Water - All that talking...might need a sip! Bring your favorite water bottle in case you won't have easy access to a drink.
- Make Eye Contact - Always make eye contact with the room! It will help you better engage with the audience. And, if you're nervous... single out one person (friend, family, or someone that's resonating with your talking points) to direct your attention to so you feel more at ease when speaking.
- Remember That You're a Resource for Your Audience - The audience is there to hear from YOU. (Don't forget that!) You're a valuable source of information for them, and they're so excited to listen to you and learn from you.
- HAVE FUN! Don't take it too seriously, and enjoy it! Looking back at my first panel, I wish I would have loosened up a bit more, and not been so worried about chiming in! I was so nervous, but at the end of the day, it was a wonderful first experience and only helped prepare me for the next one.
When you're getting ready to speak on your first panel, it's such an exciting time. If you're a little stage shy, like me, Don't let the nerves get the best of you!Speaking on a panel is such a wonderful thing to be able to check off of your goal list. Reaching this new career level will be a great launching point for what's in store for you and your brand!
I hope you loved today's post! For more tips & tricks, head over to the Planoly Blog.