How to Organize a Virtual Panel Events

Planning the Event

  • Check the school calendar to ensure you are not competing with a major school event.
  • Add your event date, time, and description to the school calendar.
  • Be mindful of the time zone your panelists and guests may be in prior to scheduling.
  • Specify what time zone the event will be taking place in when advertising.

Sourcing Panelists

Aim to find 3-5 people – more than 5 can be overwhelming. Find panelists from different backgrounds: try to vary what organization and role they work in, as well as their level of experience.

Try not to tap the same speakers repeatedly. Don’t rely on lists from past group leaders/past events.

Alumni can be found in a variety of ways:

  • LinkedIn: > Search “Johns Hopkins School of Nursing” > “See Alumni”.
  • Facebook groups.
  • Consult classmates, alumni, faculty, and staff.
  • Send your event details and panelist names to Alumni Relations ( and the Career Lab (


Reach out to possible panelists at least 3 weeks in advance to give them ample notice. Once a panelist has agreed to participate, if you are planning to record the session, get their consent and send a confirmation email and a calendar invitation with all the event details. 1-2 weeks prior to the event, email the panelists a reminder, and the questions you will ask so they can prepare. If you need assistance with advertising, email Student Affairs ( and the Career Lab.

During the Event

Ask the panelists to rename themselves in Zoom to include their organization, if appropriate. Consider setting an order for panelists to respond in, or call on them in this order. On Zoom, it can be tricky to gauge when someone may be planning to speak and you don’t want to have gaps in the session, or have the panelists talk over each other.
Tell the panelists ahead of time that they do not have to answer every single question, and if their point has already been said, they do not have to repeat it.
If you are giving participants the option to ask questions, announce that at the start of the session, and remind them to submit questions to the chat. Leave time to filter through these questions.

After the Event

  • Follow up and send a thank you email to panelists.
  • To have your event recording posted in Handshake (credited to your group), email the Career Lab.

More info on JHU Handshake.

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