Public Relations: How to succeed as panelist at real estate events - by Harry Zlokower

September 18, 2018 - Front Section

As the market heats up in 2018-2019, there will be more opportunities for real estate owners, managers, brokers and service providers to serve as panelists and moderators at the many well-attended conferences and events held throughout the metropolitan area.

If you are asked to participate and feel qualified, seize the opportunity to project your brand, get your message out, network with other leaders, and, provide your knowledge and viewpoints to your peers and media, including the event’s own website. 

The first step is getting the invitation. Unless you are already on many lists, feel free to reach out by yourself or through your PR representative well in advance of conference dates. Conference managers are always on the lookout for good panelists who will help draw audiences. While many opportunities are no cost to you, some may require sponsorship fees of a few thousand dollars, in which case the exposure for you and your firm are often still well worth it. Make sure you have a good photo and bio ready because the event will want it well in advance for their website.

There are two roles available on a typical panel, moderator and panel member. The moderator’s job is to manage the panel, brief panelists, prepare questions and keep the pace going for usually 40 minutes to an hour. If you are the moderator, introduce yourself, describe your qualifications and interject your ideas where appropriate during the session. 

Likewise, panelists prepare well for the event, look for opportunities to join in the discussion and use every opportunity to bring up your own experience to illustrate points and communicate who you are and what you do. This is your opportunity to promote to an attentive audience. No one will–or should–fault you for doing that. You only get one chance.

Harry Zlokower is president of Zlokower Co., a real estate public relations firm, and past president of the New York Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, New York, N.Y.

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