I am currently preparing for a panel discussion where one panelist is insistent that she needs PowerPoint slides. Considering that slides are usually for presentations – and the “one unforgivable offense” is to rise and give a presentation, I am loathing to entertain her request. Panels should focus on the discussion and interaction between panelists and not a humongous screen.
That being said, there can be some instances when slides can be appropriate. Such as when it:
Here are some ideas where I think it is appropriate to have a slide:
If you are going to allow panelists to present using visuals, encourage them to:
If possible, collect the presentations early to review the slides prior to the event to ensure panelists are addressing the topic, limiting their slide count and minimizing duplication among the panelists’ presentations. Don’t worry about making all the slides look the same – unless the organization has mandated it.
As the panel moderator, I like to assemble one overall slideshow file and be responsible for advancing the slide deck. Preload the file on a single computer so you eliminate the technical difficulties in making multiple laptops work with a single projector. Then, as your panelists speak, you (or the A/V tech) can easily bring up and advance the slides.
Finally, beware of the clever panelist who wants to show a slide or video at the very last minute. Your answer should be a firm and pleasant, “No.” You didn’t really want slides for your panel discussion, anyway!
For more resources on how to make meetings, panels, and room sets better, make sure to check out this knowledge vault which is chock-full of customizable checklists, worksheets, templates, agendas, sample emails, video interviews and webinars with industry icons and professional moderators.
Kristin Arnold, professional panel moderator and high stakes meeting facilitator, shares her best practices for interactive, interesting, and engaging panel presentations. For more resources like this, or to have Kristin moderate your next panel visit the Powerful Panels official website.