When my boyfriend invited me to sit in on the discussion after the play I was excited. Immediately my PR hat was on and I was thinking what a great opportunity this would be for the theater, who often puts on plays that are lesser known but have messages that can be conversation starters. I was day dreaming of the next few plays they were to put on and how they could tie them into discussion panels with other departments.
Then I got there. I know that this is the first time the theater department had hosted a pannel but some of the things that they did were just down right unprofessional. I’ve created the below list of mistakes they made, feel free to apply it to any other event and it will do your reputation in.
1. Don’t provide the guest panelists with water, coffee, or refreshments.
2. Don’t even bother to introduce the panelists when they take the stage.
3. Openly admit before the panel begins that you don’t know what direction you would like he conversation to go in.
4. Ask the panelists what they want to talk about moments before the panel begins. (No really, the host did this 10 minutes before the pannel started).
5. Don’t have questions prepared in case of a lull in conversation, better to let your guests sweat it.
6. Tell the panelists that you’ll be moderating, then let the discussion go completely off topic for more than 20 minutes.
7. As the moderator feel free to interrupt your panel of experts to put in your “educated” opinion on a topic you know nothing about.
8. When speaking about that topic act like you know more then your assembled pannel of experts who have their PhD’s in that field.
9. Don’t bother getting your panelists gifts or compensating them in any way.
10. When the panelists confront you on choices made in the production of a play (in this instance), make sure to badger them then dodge the questions.
That my friends is how you ruin your reputation in one hour falt.