The Perfect Way You Can Begin Your Panel Discussion: A Specific Example

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.”

Incorporating these three techniques made the script easy for Mark to remember.

  • Think chronologically.
  • Use shorter sentences or phrases.
  • Consider each visual scene.

Notice: I recommend that you write your script with one short sentence or phrase going down the page, not across as in a paragraph. In your rehearsal, this makes it easier for you to internalize.

“After last year’s sales meeting,

my wife Tammy came in for the weekend.

We went to see David Copperfield’s magic show.

Three-quarters of the way through his performance,

Copperfield threw two dozen balls into the audience.

Tammy caught one.

David said, “If you touched a ball, please come on the stage.”

He seated twenty-four people on bleachers and covered them with a tarp.

Whoosh! Five seconds later, they were gone!

Suddenly, they appeared at the back of the room.

On the way out I asked Tammy, “How did he do it?”

She said, “We are sworn to secrecy. However, we did have to move really fast!”

Remember, the sales meeting was in Las Vegas, and Mark’s theme incorporated the importance of moving fast. He said, “The panel was a wild success, and everyone raved about my opening story!”

Your speeches are more effective when you include great personal stories.

When your presentation must be memorable, talk to Patricia about how she can help.

“Your speech coaching has made it possible for me to be confident and well received. Without your guidance, I would not have been able to accept invitations to Cambridge University and speak to 10,000 on the platform with President Obama.” -Angela Cearns, Chief eCommerce Officer, Yum

“Patricia Fripp’s super-power is she can listen to a superb presentation and find ways to make it even better.”– Krister Ungerböck, Author of Talk Shifts

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