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. Oftentimes, attendees will ask a question that is specific to their personal inquiries or 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. Aim for broad, positive questions that prompt for engaging and interactive conversation.

Here is a checklist to run through before you ask a question:

-Will other attendees be wondering the same thing?

-Is this related to broad subject matter rather than a personal experience?

-Does this question ask for a detailed answer rather than a yes/no answer?

-Will this question draw upon the speaker’s past experiences that will be useful for the listeners?

-Is the question positive and complementary to the speaker?

-Is this question something you can’t find the answer to on the internet?

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

In case you blank on the spot, here are some sample questions to keep in mind:  

-What are some rookie mistakes you made in the beginning of your career that you see happening often?

-Could you describe a typical workday in your industry/position?

-What other positions or jobs have you considered in the past? How did you decide on the position you have now?

-What are five main traits you look for in your employees?

-What is the typical application process for a position at your company, and do you have any advice to stand out from other applicants?

-Have you ever been presented a resume that really stood out or impressed you? What about it made it so memorable?

-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 panel 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.

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

2 comment on “How to Ask a Great Question at a Panel

  1. Pingback: How to Make the Most of Your Time in New York City | FindSpark

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