Definition: The art and science of getting your pompous ass in front of people to PITCH your product your company or just your wonderfully self-centered self.
Now let me state this right up front. I as in me have spent many an hour on the phone in front of a computer creating ideas, content and finding people to be on panels. I have been on, moderated and witnessed countless examples of all types.
So, I think that I am as qualified as anyone to “examine” this phenomenon that is #CRE #Paneling
Do they ever change?
Think of the last one you saw. You went in with the expectation that at the very least you would learn something new. When I create panel outlines, I start with the idea that I want to Entertain, Inform and Educate the people who will be in attendance. Pretty basic I would say and for the most part, you would agree. And that’s when it gets interesting. It gets interesting because of people. People with an agenda.
Of course, they have an agenda. There are conferences that make the people on the panel PAY to be on them. I have never and will never pay. I know that it is looked at as an effective way to “market and tell your story” to a targeted audience. How much value do you think is generated when everyone knows it just a pitch session. If you are paying you damn sure want to get your money worth. So pitch after pitch it is. Is that ok? We all need to pitch do we not?
So beyond that panels that are pitch sessions we jump into the ever exciting world of stats and numbers. Oh, how #CRE people love stats and numbers. I have seen audience members debate and argue with each other about market stats. I have been in mandatory sessions that help “educate” the audience on the market that they are responsible for creating in the first place. In 2015 can we not just look those number up in say what twenty-five seconds. Do we not track most of that data already either as #CRE companies or individuals? Ask a retail broker in say Atlanta about the state of his market. If he can tell you details that are so specific, they make your head spin then he is indeed a real broker. So, let’s sit for forty-five minutes listening to two gray hair old geezers and a numbers nerd drone on and on and on about “the state of the marketplace.”
A true story.
This happened. I was at a #CRE specific conference, and the panel was there to represent the different disciplines of #CRE. Let’s say BOMA or ULI or CCIM kind of disciplines. It just so happens that all of the panelists were of the female gender.
What do you think happened? You know what happened. Right out of the box. The MAN introducing the panel starts out with……..the most sexist comment I have heard in quite a while.
Now sitting next to me was a very nice lady. We had already introduced ourselves and made small talk. Just for reference the lady looked like she just might be someone’s grandmother. Maybe just. Her quote to me out loud. “Jesus Christ it’s 2014, and that’s all that asshole can think to say,” She said it loud enough for everyone within fifty feet to hear. It went deadly silent for about ten seconds. She turned to look at me and said ” what’s the point of doing these things if we can’t even get past the first sentence.”
Now the guy across from me has known me for a while. He said, “are you going to Tweet that out?’ I replied “Oh yeah, but I will make sure that it sounds like it came from me.”
He lowered his head and eyes and turned to face the stage. I glanced to my left, and the lady was deep into her phone. She turned to me ” I tired of this. I need to speak out.”
I replied “If I can help in any way just let me know.”
She put her phone away and said “thanks, I know who to get to. I’m not letting this go away.”
I sat quietly and still thru the rest of the panel. I know when to get the hell out of the way.
This may sound more familiar to you than you would like to admit. I guarantee that some of the people that were in that room are reading this now. As far as I know not one other person has said anything about it. All I did was tweet it out. Pretty gutless if you ask me. As a husband father broker and human being not one of my finer moments.
Just a thought.
Why are there no panels on gender equality at #CRE conferences? Maybe there are but I haven’t seen any. Is that too much of a hot-button issue to actually talk about in public. Let’s just ignore half of the entire population. Working for us so far right?
How about a little help?
What does it take to make a good or even great panel? Oh, I have some ideas.
- Know your stuff. I moderated a panel about #CRE #TECH, and one of the panelists could not make it so last minute he sent a CEO to cover for him. The guy said into the microphone that he did not know that much about #CRE #TECH. What do you think happen to him his company and the guy who sent him reputations? Not to mention the questions I softballed to him to try and help out but also the high hard ones I let fly…in front of everyone.
- Make sure people know who you are. Yes, the moderator will have something prepared but listen and take the first opportunity to let the audience know who you are. Guess what I do? I let the panelist introduce themselves. Problem solved.
- Speak up. Sit up straight. Stay off your damn phone. Yes, I have seen that happen. Are you so fucking important that you need to check messages sitting in front of a live audience? Project your voice and personality. Too simple?
- Be entertaining. It’s easy for some of us. Be funny relaxed and open. Think of it as a conversation with hundreds of your friends. Agree to disagree that’s why you were picked for the panel, your point of view.
- Tell the truth. Don’t bullshit. Think about sitting next to me on a panel and trying to bullshit your way through it. I’m not going to let that happen. If you don’t know just, say so. Maybe your medication is not working. It happens.
- Be plain simple and short. Reread that last sentence and just do it.
- Don’t look at me. Or any moderator for that matter. Talk to the audience. I purposely look away. If you want to talk to me wait until the panel is over besides, I already know the answer to the question that’s why I am moderating.
- You can be nice but don’t agree. If you can’t think of anything alternative to say just acknowledges that fact and ask to move on.
- Be available after the panel for the audience. They literally took time out of their precious lives to sit and listen to you. Take the time to make a more personal connection. Why are you on the panel in the first place?
- Send me brown liquor. I just made you look like the smartest human being in commercial real estate. Show the love.
#CRE #Paneling. This Is A Thing Now! Caution: You Will Be Offended.
+1 There is paneling and then there is paneling. Know the difference.