How to Be a Kick Ass Panelist

Posted March 1, 2017 in Latest News & Insights

Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a panel session discussion The Way Women Lead. I joined Marg Hachey (former founder of Duocom) and Paulette Senior (CEO of Canadian Women’s Fund) to talk about our philosophies and approaches to leadership and what we’ve learned along the way. Here are my 5 tips to be a successful panelist should you ever be recruited to be on one:

1) When you’re on a panel, don’t be afraid to take a contrarian point of view. I shared that Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In irritated me and several people came up to me after to tell me how much they appreciated my comments because they felt the same. If you feel it…others in the room will too.

2) Share real stories. It’s easy to talk platitudes…especially when you’re dealing with topics like leadership. Be authentic by showing the real you…the good, the bad and the ugly. That’s what will resonate.

3) Share the air. With 3 people on a panel, it can be easy to get carried away with your story telling. Think in advance of some of the key points you want to make so that you don’t ramble and steal other people’s time.

4) Don’t repeat other panelist points. Instead, build on them and bring in something new for the audience. If you disagree, share another ‘perspective’ and connect the dots with the audience on how your point is building on theirs.

5) Relax and enjoy yourself. I’ve been on many panels with some really accomplished people. This panel was no exception. It’s easy to think ‘what am I doing here with these people??’ But, the reality is that you’re there because you have something to offer. So ‘lean in’, have fun and enjoy the moment.

Happy leading!


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