How to Ask a Great Question at a Panel

Photo Courtesy of Anthony Morrison

Asking questions at a panel discussion is one of the easiest ways to be remembered and get a professional’s attention, may that be in a positive or negative way.

Here’s the best ways to be remembered positively by asking a question at a panel event, and the questions you should ask yourself before raising your hand.

If you answered yes to all or most of these, your question should be good to go, so ask with confidence.

Blanking on the spot? Here are some sample questions to go into the event with:  

  1. What are some rookie mistakes you made in the beginning of your career that you see other rookies make now?
  2. Could you describe a typical workday in your industry/position?
  3. What other positions or jobs have you considered in the past? How did you decide on the position you have now?
  4. What are five main traits you look for in your employees?
  5. What is the typical application process for a position at your company, and do you have any advice to stand out from other applicants?
  6. Have you ever been presented a resume that really stood out or impressed you? What about it made it so memorable?
  7. If you could give yourself one piece of advice when you were our age, what would you say and why?

After the discussion ends, don’t just walk out of the room. Stay and talk to the panelists and the attendees around you. Express your career goals and your reason for attending. Ask for business cards and give out your resume. Ask if they will be attending any other upcoming events, and speak professionally with a friendly attitude.

A word of warning: oftentimes, attendees will ask a question that is specific to their personal experiences, which isn’t helpful to the group and defeats the purpose of an open panel. Save those questions for after when you are speaking one-on-one.

What advice do you have for asking questions at a panel? Share in the comments!

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