I recently served on the Personal Branding Panel at the Renegade Women’s Conference presented by Donna and Nailah. I was nervous as heck going into it, but in the end I had a blast and I can’t wait to do it again — and I will this Friday at the Curly Cartel Natural Beauty Experience!
I did my research before RWC and I have to say, it paid off big time! Here are some words of advice on how you can rock your next panel!
– Be Prepared
Man oh man, a little prep goes a long way! Donna + Nailah gave our panel sample questions and I wrote down some notes the night before the conference. I’m not shy, but I’ve never had the opportunity to speak in front of so many (about 100.. eep!) women entrepreneurs! Having those notes done and feeling prepared really helped ease my nerves. I don’t recommend bringing notes on stage but it’s good be familar with the topic and allow the discussion to evolve organically.
– Make the Conversation
Panels should never be mini presentations from each panelist, but rather a conversation with guided questions. I would recommend getting to know your panelists before the panel begins so you’ll be comfortable with the conversation on stage. Sharzad of Luxelyfe and I have spent hours chatting in the past so we really felt comfortable referring to one another and making the panel more conversational.
– Give Personal Examples
Speaking on theories and concepts can get really boring, really fast. I love hearing how panelists have specifically applied these ideas to their own life and what the results were. At RWC, I spoke a lot about being your authentic self with your content and finding your voice. What does that mean? Well for me it meant not trying to be who I thought everyone would enjoy (a combination of Nene Leakes + Bethany Frankel on camera — my manfriend told me to cut it out). Branding is all about who your are and having a consistent voice that carries across all platforms. This example gave the concept clarity and thinking of me trying to be Nene Leakes is pretty hard to forget.
– Give Actionable Takeaways
I love when I can give anyone an “aha moment.” The best way to do that is have an actionable takeaway ready to go. On the topic of personal branding I challenged everyone to reach out to their online audience to generate 3 words that describe their voice, and in turn their brand. I had so many people contact me during and after the conference saying this takeaway gave them their aha moment.
– Don’t Pitch!
Panels are an opportunity for conversation, not sales! Don’t be that person who uses the platform to promote their new book. It’s weird.
– Moderators make all the difference
Moderators are awesome because they guide the conversation, simulating thought and synergy along the way. Good moderators direct the questions to the panelists who are best fit to answer and know what kind of information the audience is hungry for. The moderators have to know the topic just as well as the panelists to understand how to make the best use of the allotted time. I particularly appreciate when the moderators introduce the panelist and talk about why they feel they are in the position to speak on the topic. I gotta say, Jules Taggart & Krystina Feucht of Kickstart Kitchen did a fantastic job moderating our panel at RWC.