Wondering how the heck you can subtly promote yourself during a panel discussion? You don’t want to be too pushy or too salesy BUT there is a reason you said “yes” to the request. Perhaps you are looking for more visibility, awareness of a new product/service, or organization (whatever “it” is!).
Regardless of the reason you want to shamelessly promote yourself or your company, DON’T do it! There’s a fine line between mentioning that your book was just released and hawking the darn thing – picking it up and lovingly petting it like your long-lost puppy. Mentioning that they can buy it at any online or local bookseller. Telling them they would be idiots if they didn’t come up to talk to you about the book etc.
There are other ways to get the point across without you having to shamelessly promote “it.”
Enlist the Moderator. The panel moderator isn’t stupid. She knows that there is an inherent reason you agreed to be on the panel – and it usually includes some kind of visibility or recognition. So talk to the moderator about how she can effectively and appropriately promote “it” during the panel discussion:
Other Panelists can reference “it” during the panel discussion as well. However, they can’t do that if they don’t know about “it.” So during the coordination call(s), meet up OR a specific call to a panelist that you think is appropriately poised to mention “it,” share your agenda and what you are specifically looking for. I love it when a panelist shares the glow with another panelist. “You mentioned that in your latest book….” It actually makes everyone look super-smart and connected!
Visuals. A less subtle way of promoting your stuff is a visible representation e.g. the use of your company logo on the backdrop or the product on the tabletop.
Prop. Bring a physical representation of “it” and give it to the moderator to display. (Beware of you picking it up and lovingly petting it like your long-lost puppy…
URL. People need a quick way to find you, so create a short URL and/or QR code that can be quickly shared with the audience.
Audience. The audience is not stupid. They know who you are and what company you work for. Provide great value and takeaways for the audience and then you and your company may bask in the afterglow. If you rocked the house, people will come up to talk to you.
Don’t Brag. Rhett Kniep of Centurion 7 Business Advisors wisely suggests that “You must remember the audience is not there to hear about your business acumen. Panelists are often tempted to share their success in a public forum, but self-promotion is poison in that kind of setting. Instead, focus on what you have learned and express it in terms of general advice, versus ‘this is what I have done.’ Share knowledge, not braggadocio.”
In essence, serve the audience and let others brag about “it!”
For more information about how to moderate a lively & informative panel discussion, check out our free 7-part video series on how to moderate a panel and other resources to help you organize, moderate, or be a panel member.