What I Learned From Participating In My First Panel
Last Thursday I was invited to Spotify’s San Francisco office to speak on a panel called Switch, Pivot, or Quit Chat hosted by Ahyiana of the Life According To Her Podcast. I was on the panel with the lovely Amy of The Ohio Transplant who also works at Pinterest.
This was my first time participating in a panel as a working adult and it was recorded so I learned quite a bit when I listened back. I didn’t listen to all my answers because I was literally cringing at myself (does anyone else do this?) but I listened to parts of it and I listened back to hear what everyone else said. One of my goals for the year is to have more speaking engagements so I was very excited to be invited to this event and I have another panel later this month so I’m going to take what I learned and apply it there. Here’s what I’m taking with me moving forward.
Be aware of yourself.
I talk a lot and when I say a lot I mean A LOT! My brain also works like a stream of consciousness and I’m the type of person to say exactly what’s on my mind right away in every situation. I know that I was invited to be on a panel but I felt like my answers were too long. The next time I speak on a panel I’ll make sure to take a moment to compose my answer in my head before speaking. I’ll also make sure to let others talk first since I talk so much so that I’m not monopolizing the conversation.
Being too prepared is boring.
I didn’t do a lot to prepare for the panel and I’m really glad about that. Instead of stressing myself out about what I was going to say I got a general idea of what the panel was about and since I have a lot of experience in that area I just went with it. If your answers are too prepared you’ll end up sounding like a robot or like someone who is perfect and since I’m none of those things I want to do my best to stay authentic. That’s not to say you shouldn’t prepare at all but don’t have a script.
You have to be open.
I met a lot of amazing women at the panel. I really think some might become friends. I made an effort to talk to most of the women in attendance after the panel and since I’m really ridiculous we ended up having a lot of fun. It’s so amazing to talk with black and brown women from all walks of life. Everyone had different experiences and a different perspective to add.
When it comes to event planning you gotta be like Nike.
Sometimes you have to do it. I’ve been so weird about planning events because it seems like such a big undertaking but after talking with Ahyiana I realized it’s not that hard to do. I can’t wait to start planning Brown Girl Bloggers events this summer, fall, and winter.
Ps: I am not shy so I wasn’t nervous about being on this panel at all and in general I’m never nervous about speaking in public. If I were giving a keynote speech or speaking on my own I might have been a little more nervous. I don’t really have any advice on how to beat the nerves other than to just do it but if I ever get a bad case of the nerves before speaking I’ll write about it.
Have you ever been on a panel? If so what did you learn?