One January, Mark, a district sales manager from a biotech company, was preparing to moderate a panel at the Las Vegas National Sales Meeting.

He was nervous about his new role in front of a 100-person audience.

In our pre-coaching communications, I noticed his email signature line included a quote about “moving fast.” He explained that he had a new role and was “moving fast” to understand new products, clients, and products.

His panel’s task was to encourage the audience to embrace new jobs in different areas and to realize that they would have to move fast to get up to speed in different roles in new territories.

Mark did not have any idea how to set the tone for the meeting.

I asked, “What experience do you have with Las Vegas?”

He said, “After last year’s sales meeting, my wife Tammy came in for the weekend. We went to see David Copperfield, and he made her disappear.”

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Congratulations! You’ve been asked to moderate a panel. This is a great opportunity to build your reputation and add value to your customers.

Moderating a panel can be more challenging than delivering a keynote speech.

As you probably realize, when you moderate a panel discussion, you have multiple responsibilities and many more elements to stay aware of. You will set the tone for the session, raise the audience’s expectations, and keep the discussion cohesive so it moves along well. These thirteen strategies can help you:

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How to Make a Powerful Impact in Your Presentations

Never Make the Mistake and Underestimate the Power of a Moment to Reflect

Alan Alda says, “It is the space between the lines that make it a great performance.”

That means you must never underestimate the power of the pause. This is true in acting as well as in speaking and music.

My brother Robert Fripp, the legendary guitarist and one of Rolling Stone magazine’s “100 Greatest Guitarists,” explains, “The music is between the notes, not in the notes.”

Your message is not simply conveyed by your words; it is also with your pauses.

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Don’t Write Out Your Complete Speech


I’m frequently asked, “What are the mistakes that speakers make?”

One is thinking they have to write out their complete speech. What I recommend you do instead is follow a logical presentation preparation process.

Think, what is the big idea of your speech, your premise, or your central theme?

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True Professionals Do Not Do This

I’m frequently asked, “Patricia, what are some of the mistakes that speakers make?”

One is to act like a prima donna rather than a partner with the person who invited you to speak at the meeting.

Don’t be an ass. Be nice. Be friendly.

Remember your place. You are there to contribute to the meeting and take a problem off the meeting planner’s list, not add to it.

Some of the most famous and in-demand speakers are easy to deal with. Yes, they know how to be a success and communicate what they need in advance.

Lessons from one of my long-term clients, the American Payroll Association.

The very dynamic Executive Director, Dan Maddux has entertained me with many stories of celebrities and professional speakers who were a delight to work with and those who were really nasty.

You may be interested to know that some of their highest-rated speakers are not the best speakers; they are really nice to the audience members and happy to go to the booths of their sponsors.

Remember that at all your future meetings and conferences. 

If you need help, FrippVT could be your answer. Take a trial.

“The information in FrippVT is as valuable as any college course I’ve taken. This is a resource that everyone needs.

The investment is worth ten times more than I paid and has been life-changing. My fees, recommendations, and referrals have increased dramatically. I am delighted. For the first time in my speaking career, I know exactly want I am doing when I walk on stage.”

Mitzi Perdue, author of How to Make Your Family Business Last

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Why Not Set Yourself Up for Success and Write Your Own Introduction

I am frequently asked, “Patricia, what mistakes do many speakers make?” One is not writing your own introduction. Most individuals who introduce you do not know the difference between a bio and an introduction. A bio can be long; an introduction needs to be no more than one page, 16-18-point type.

When you write your introduction for somebody else to read, send it in advance as well as take a copy with you.

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Always Have a Sure-Fire Opening

I’m frequently asked what mistakes most speakers make. One is thinking that once they have prepared their presentation, they don’t need to script and internalize the opening.

Very often I hear professional speakers and executives say, “Oh, when I get there, I’m going to see what’s going on and personalize it.”

You Cannot Rely on Inspiration

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Frippicism: The key to career success is to learn to sell yourself and your ideas to your senior management.

It’s no secret. The higher up the corporate ladder you go, the more important your public speaking skills become

If you have your sights set on increased responsibility with the position and the salary that goes with it, you will need to position yourself ahead of the crowd. At all stages of your career, it’s vital to sell yourself, your ideas, your value, and your ability. To position yourself for promotion, you need to learn what it takes to sell yourself and your ideas to senior management. That requires high-level public speaking skills. Learn from these presentation tips and techniques.

Perhaps you’re already speaking up in team meetings and getting your ideas across effectively. If so, how do you feel about facing a room full or even just five of senior management around a boardroom table, all staring at you? The same feelings apply to virtual meetings.

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