Preparing for a Series of Panels

Dima Pechurin from Unsplash

As more people go back to the office, including me, I’m noticing a sharp increase in the number of in-person events this fall. 

My day job is as a technology advisor for a federal government scientific agency. I provide coaching and consulting services to tech startups, as well as funding support. Although I have a background as an R&D engineer, my hands-on technology knowledge is light-years behind what the new generation is working with today. However, I bring my project management and business development skills, which new founders severely lack.

My office is in a research institute specializing in data science and artificial intelligence. I know enough about these topics to understand what entrepreneurs present to me. And that’s about it.

In the past couple of weeks, I have received four requests to participate in discussion panels at upcoming conferences in the city this fall. I haven’t been on a panel in a decade…

In each case, my first internal reaction was “why me?”  For one of the panels on startup strategy, ok, that is my jam. The others are discussing issues relating to AI applications, challenges with the technology and the future of the area.

I thought about it, then decided to say yes to all. I could ask one of my colleagues, however, we are all beyond busy because of short staffing.

I used to love speaking to groups. I taught an entrepreneurship course at the local university before the shutdown. I’ve delivered two semesters online, but it’s not the same. I’m not sure my course will continue because of changes at the university.

Working from home has become too comfortable. I need to get out in public. It took me a couple of months to start using my office again. Normally I arrive, close the door, and log onto Teams to do my day. It helped that there was no one in the building anyways. This week I forced myself to keep the door open a couple of times during the day. My neighbours came by to say hi. It felt good.

These forums will get me out into the public eye again. I can do it, but I need to prepare. I can’t surf from my past experience.

The best way for me to prepare is to write an article on each of the panel topics. This will help me distill some key points to communicate.

Ok, now to work on these articles!