Panel discussion – how to prepare for it?

A panel discussion is a structured conversation that brings together multiple experts who exchange viewpoints on a given topic, share their perspectives, and engage in a discourse. It usually involves multiple researchers and fosters a rich and informative experience for the audience. Panel discussions also encourage the attendees to participate in the conversation by engaging in the Q&A sessions held after the speakers are done with their presentations. It makes the audience feel more involved and leads to them gaining a deeper understanding on the presented topic. 

What is the purpose of a panel discussion? 

Panel discussions are usually organized by universities, research centers, scientific societies, and groups of researchers with shared interests. Sometimes events like these are also organized by think-tanks and large corporations. Panel discussions have a high cognitive value. They are held in order to give the researchers the room to present their findings and discuss them with their peers.

Participants of a panel discussion

The participants of a panel discussion should be carefully selected to make sure they will deliver valuable insights and engage in a productive discussion. All speakers should be experts with knowledge on the topic and diverse backgrounds. Their credentials and expertise need to be confirmed by the event’s moderators in order to ensure the appropriate level of discussion and keep it both informative and relevant. A panel discussion should have from three up to five speakers. Too few, and the discussion will become an interview. Too many, and the discourse may get quickly out of hand. 


How to prepare yourself for a panel discussion? 

In order to prepare themselves for a panel discussion, the participants should:

  • know the topics that will be discussed, 
  • know their role in the discussion, 
  • practice keeping their answers short and to the point, 
  • consider how they want to respond to opposing opinions, 
  • get acquainted with other panelists. 

The panelists should also be aware of their surroundings, body language, tone of voice, and dress in an appropriate manner, which will allow them to appear more professional and confident. 

Accessories useful for the participants of a panel discussion 

Participants of a panel discussion may find useful such accessories as a notebook with a pen, and a clipboard. 

Notebook with a pen

A notebook with a pen enables taking notes during a panel discussion. Thanks to them the event participant can write down important points and details, questions, ideas, own thoughts on the subjects, and lists of follow-up actions. 


An accessory a lot of panel discussion participants find useful is a clipboard. It provides a rigid base for writing on the go and can hold the notes during presentation, making the speaker appear more professional. Modern high quality clipboards come in different dimensions and different shapes – they may be single or in the form of a folder. To make a good impression during the panel, the speaker may choose to use a customized clipboard with a logo of the organization they are representing. High-end promotional clipboards are available in the MILO Group’s catalog. 

panel discussion

Why is it so important to be well-prepared during a discussion panel?

Presenting during a discussion panel may sound easier than presenting as a keynote speaker, but it still requires a lot of preparations. It is necessary to organize the discourse in order to convey all necessary information in a comprehensible way. The panel discussion participant should also be ready to answer the questions posed by co-panelists and audience members. Well-prepared speakers make a better impression and are more likely to succeed in passing along their ideas.