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  • Writer's pictureHannah Duncan

What makes me write about your panel?

Your panel. It's a big deal. I know what it's like. Sweaty palms, palpitations, trying to memorise stats. It's like you're 15 again, about to go into a French-speaking exam. Except it's in the language of Fintech, in front of an audience. Sometimes filmed. It's can be stressful. I get that.

So, as you prepare ...

What kind of things should you include? How should you act?

As a freelance journalist, I listen to hundreds of panels. But I only pick two or three to write about. In this blog, I will list the things I look for. Plus, what - for me - makes a brilliant panel.

If you want me to write about your thought leadership in the press, this could be useful! 🙌

Hannah Duncan selfie at a panel
Sneaking a selfie between panels ... Those bags under my eyes are from another event the day before!

👉 Answer my question bravely

A lot of the time, when I ask a question, I'm not that interested in the answer.

I want to see how you handle it.

I nearly always ask about sustainability. And the way you reply tells me a lot. If you avoid the question like a politician, that speaks volumes about your company culture.

I recently had this with HSBC representatives. Every HSBC panellist either refused to answer or told me that, "maybe in the future they would look into it". This tells me there is a systemic unwillingness to engage or accept responsibility in that bank.

By contrast, if a panellist gives a full and honest answer, it goes down much better.

I already know that finance is not perfect. I want to hear if you can say it. I want to see if you can recognise your weaknesses and opportunities.

If you are brave enough to look me in the eye and tell the truth, I will almost always include you in my articles. And it will probably be quite positive!

👉 Don't shy away from big topics

Mate. If you're the person who can grab the bull by the horns and tackle a tricky issue head-on, that is MUSIC to my ears. It doesn't matter if nobody agrees with you. A healthy bit of debate makes for good viewing.

... I will probably contact you for future opinions too.

👉 Go beyond money

We live in a crazy world. Talk to me. Be real.

I want to know about homelessness, climate change, inequality, corruption, scapegoating, and racism... Tell me about social media, cancel culture, and weird far-right people on Twitter. VIP Lanes, refugees without rights, gaslighting, feminism, illegal wars, hypocrisy, daddy issues, animal testing...

Tell me how your bank or fintech plays into that. Onladder is a firm that does this well. And Sprive. They hone in on the affordable housing crisis and how they're fighting to fix it.

I want to know how your fintech will CHANGE THE WORLD. I want to know what you stand for. Show me the real impact. Beyond the financial.

👉 Be clear, fair and not misleading

I will borrow the FCA's catchphrase, be "clear, fair and not misleading". Or using my own words, "speak up and tell the truth".

If I can't understand what you're saying, I can't include it. 🤷‍♀️ Take a clear position!

👉 Sit on a diverse panel

Honestly, it's a REAL turn-off when everyone on the panel looks the same.

There are a bunch of reasons why. Firstly, it's just poor ethics. Secondly, it shows me that the diversity of thought is limited. Thirdly, it implies that the audience won't be that diverse, limiting my readership.

👉 Don't be an event-sponsor speaker

Ugh. Come on. If you've paid to be there, it's not the same as someone who's earned it. Obviously.

I'm looking to report things that have never been printed before. Cutting-edge stuff. I want to hear from genuine leaders.

👉 Keep it relatable

Not everybody understands these things the way you do. That's why you're the expert! If you say something jargon-y, my readers might not get it.

It sets off a whole chain.

If my readers don't get it,

... Then I'll have to use up words explaining it.

.... And then the whole thing loses its bounce.

... And then my editor won't like it

... And then it might not get published

... And then I lose work...

Basically, your jargon is a liability. 🧨 Speak normally! 🙏

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