Feedback from last nights twiistup event: How to make a great entrepreneurial panel or event

I spoke at an entrepreneurial panel last night with Geoff Entress. After talking and answering questions for about 1 hour I asked the audience if they had any constructive feedback on how to make the panel better. We received the following feedback:

  • Serve alcoholic drinks -- Neil Patel had already figured that out and had arranged for an open bar.  I think panels are really just like weddings  -- you need to hit the audience with alcohol and good snacks immediately after the ceremony. Neil understands this.
  • Improve networking -- During the drink hour, figure out a way of structuring the networking so more people meet the right people. There are lots of ways to do accomplish this -- e.g. a bell or chime where you have to move on and introduce yourself to someone new...The important thing is understanding why the audience is there is less about the panel and more about networking. 
  • Improve one-on-one access to panelists -- The larger the audience the harder it to connect audience and panelist one-on-one.  In fact, making one-on-one connections is hard to do with almost any size audience. However, the audience clearly has the desire to get individual advice and contact with the panel.  NWEN has created a unique "eDate" event where they have a larger number of experts to meet for 3 minutes individually with entrepreneurs. I think this is a great idea and the event has been well received.  
  • Present case studies -- people like to hear detailed stories of financings.
  • Role play -- Someone in the audience wanted to "watch" a real pitch and then have the panel critique the pitch.