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Panel Discussion Invitation

You’ve identified your desired slate of D.E.E.P. panelists and now you need to send them a panel discussion invitation by email (or if you’re old school, by postal mail!). To have a comprehensive yet crisp letter, consider including the following elements:

10 Elements to a Panel Discussion Invitation Email or Letter

  1. Salutation. Start smart and respectful. It always helps to use their name – which means this is a personalized invitation – which does, in fact, mean more.
  2. Who You Are. In what capacity are you making this invitation? Are you the Executive, Chair of the Program Committee, the panel moderator, or some rando?
  3. The Invitation. Make the request to be a panelist. Provide the title, the date, time, and location of both the panel and the meeting, conference or convention.
  4. Expectations. Clarify your expectations of them e.g. will they be asked to provide some opening remarks? Stay for lunch? Attend the whole program?
  5. Format. Share the panel format and any unique characteristics of this panel that might entice them to say yes.
  6. Context. Explain the background and why this panel is important now – and to this audience.
  7. Attendees. Your expectations as to who will be in the audience. Share demographic info and sentiments.
  8. Promotional Materials. Include the current or past marketing materials.
  9. Deliverables. Assuming a favorable response, you may want a photo, bio, social handles, etc.
  10. End with Excitement. Share your passion for the organization, the meeting, and the panel discussion – and how you know that they will be a valuable contribution! Make the request to be a panelist along with a date that you would like to know their answer.

Kristin’s Panelist Invitation Letter Template

Subject: Panelist Invitation – <Meeting Name and Date>

Dear <name>:

As the <event title> Meeting Chair, I am pleased to invite you to be a panelist on <date> to discuss <topic>.

<Provide meeting background, objectives, format, and number and demographics of attendees.>

The <meeting/conference/convention> will be held on <day>, <date> at the <location> from <start time> to <end time>.  We would like to know if you would like to be a panelist at one of our panel discussions.  The panel is scheduled to start at <time> and end at <time>/<will be determined later on>.

As one of <number of panelists> people/experts on the panel, you will be asked to provide some opening remarks for <x> minutes on the topic.

Half of the <x-minute> session is reserved for answering the audience’s questions.  The <meeting> Planning Committee will select a panel moderator who will work with you and your fellow panelists to make sure you cover relevant topics that our audience is interested in without overlap.

<Provide additional background on format and demographics of attendees.>

We are pleased to announce that <name/title> will be our keynote speaker from <start time> to <end time> and you are welcome to <stay for the entire day…join me for lunch…..etc.>.  <Add any other interesting details here.>

If you are interested, I will send you a copy of <promotional materials and last year’s program> so that you can get a better feel for the event.  Please let me know — via return email or by phone  <phone number> — whether you are interested in participating on this panel. With your affirmative response, I would also appreciate the following:

  • Your name and organizational title as you would like to be registered
  • A hyperlink to your bio
  • Your Twitter username
  • <A signed audio-visual form as provided by the conference organizer>

You may already know <names and relationship to invitee>.  Please feel free to ask them or me if you have questions.  I can tell you from personal experience these past <number> years that this is a fulfilling endeavor.  The participants really like and need this information, and many of them who have attended in the past have raved about their experience.

I look forward to hearing from you by <date>.

Thank you,

Name

Signature Line

You can find more examples of panelist invitation letters here.

Panel Discussion Invitation

Related Articles

Sample Script for a Panel Discussion

Sample Script for a Virtual Panel Discussion

How to Find D.E.E.P. Panelists


For more information about how to moderate a lively & informative leadership 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.

Kristin ArnoldKristin Arnold
KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CSP, CPF|Master has been facilitating meaningful conversations between executives and managers to make better decisions and achieve extraordinary results for 25+ years. She's a leading authority on moderating panel discussions and passionate about finding the perfect olive to complement a vodka martini.

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