One thing we’ve learned from new work arrangements is that panel discussions are perfectly well-suited to online forums. As organizations continue to increase their use of virtual meetings, making discussions more memorable and engaging requires just a little bit of creativity. Whether you’re hosting a panel forum or a leadership meeting, here are some ways to make your next discussion pop.
Record some content in advance. Panels don’t have to be live, and prerecording allow for more options to get speakers who might not be able to attend your event at the scheduled date and time. You can replicate the personalized feel of a live discussion by having other experts take part in the live or text chat both during and following the recorded presentation.
Change up the format. Create branded backgrounds. Bring in visual aids or props. Try presenting standing up, as if you’re in front of an audience. (Hint: you are in front of an audience.) You don’t have stay seated, and in fact walking around will likely not be something your audience is expecting, which is another way to grab — and keep — their attention.
Call in your techies. Work with your IT and AV folks to do a dry run-through of your presentation so you can experience it in the same way your audience will. Make adjustments to frames, backgrounds, sounds, presentation slides and any other digital media. Try the format with all panelists on screen at once and again with a rotating format. Which works better? How well does the information presented come through? Do any props read on screen? Nothing undermines the effectiveness of a presentation when your audience can’t follow along.
Focus on the FACTs: format, audience, content, tone. Your format should reflect your content and audience. So if your message is serious and you’re speaking to your Board, keep things fairly buttoned up and straightforward. Thought leader panels or debates might allow for more informal, heated and even fun formats. What’s important is to set the right tone your discussion.
For more tips on improving your virtual meetings and online panel discussion, read the full article.