1.0  Scheduling of Panels

1.01 Panel Requests

All panel requests must be forwarded to and filtered through the panel coordinator(s), regardless of whether or not the requesting party has scheduled past panels with other board members. 

1.02 Scheduling Method

Once the panel coordinator(s) receives a request for a panel, s/he (they) must ask the requesting party the following information:
       § Name of the organization, class, etc.
       § Focus of the organization, class, etc.
       § Date of requested panel
       § Time of requested panel
       § Duration of requested panel
       § Location of requested panel
       § Requested number of panel participants
       § Requested focus of panel
       § Any special other requests
       § Whether or not the organization, class, etc., will consider providing TransGender Michigan an honorarium for the panel 

The panel coordinator(s) then post the panel information to panel-trained volunteers via the closed (invitation-only) TransGender Michigan's Panels Yahoo! Group. 

Panel-trained volunteers will respond to these posts based on their availability and interest. 

The panel coordinator(s) will select 4-6 people from the available panel-trained volunteers based on the following criteria:
       § Diversity
       § Background
       § Availability
       § Skills
       § Interest
       § Any available individuals who were requested to serve on the panel 

The panel coordinator(s) will then post the finalized information on the Yahoo! Group's calendar. 

Should a panelist need to cancel his/her commitment to presenting at the panel, s/he should do so immediately to allow the panel coordinator(s) a maximum amount of time to find a replacement.

2.0  Partaking in Panels

2.01 Pre-Workshop Planning

A couple of days to a week before a panel, the panel coordinator(s) will send a reminder message to the confirmed panelists, including logistic information regarding location and workshop agenda.  One of the panelists will serve as a "prep person" and bring evaluations, brochures, and handouts that are requested by the group (if any).

The panelists should arrange to meet at least fifteen minutes before the workshop begins in order to decide the logistics of the panel: who will present which portion of the workshop, the order of personal stories, etc.  The panelists will also need to introduce themselves to the sponsor of the panel, rearrange the room (if necessary), and write information regarding TransGender Michigan on a chalkboard (if in a classroom setting). 

2.02 The Panel Itself

The format of a traditional panel is as follows:
       § Introduction
                   o One panelist should state the organization that is proving the panel (TransGender Michigan), and give a very brief synopsis of what TransGender Michigan does
                   o One panelist should make it clear that each panelist speaks as an individual and cannot speak for all in the transgender community (ex: "We are just [state number] individuals in a much larger transgender community. Before we begin I would like to stress that we speak as individuals and we don't purport to represent the entire transgender community.  The transgender community is extremely diverse; gender identity cuts across race, class, age, physical ability, nationality, profession, region, and the list goes on.  We will give you our honest and open reflections as [state number] individuals who are transgender, or are a significant other, friend, family, or ally.")
                   o Each panelist will then give a brief introduction that includes their name, location, identity label, and how they define that identity label.
       § Personal Stories
                   o One Panelist will deliver an introduction to this portion of the panel (ex: "This next portion is a time when the [state number] of us will talk about our life experiences.  It's a good time for you to begin formulating questions that you can ask us during the next part of the program, the Question and Answer Session.  For most transgender individuals, as well as their friends, families, allies, and significant others, coming out is a continual and lifelong process."]
                   o Each panelist should spend about 4-8 minutes speaking about his/her coming out experiences
                   o One panelist should be designated to track time, nudging fellow panelists if necessary
       § Questions & Answers
                   o The majority of the panel will be devoted to Q&A
                   o One panelist will deliver an introduction to this portion, reminding the group that the panelists are speaking as individuals, stating that the group can feel free to ask the panelists anything, and that the panelists can refuse to answer questions that they do not feel qualified to answer or that may make them feel uncomfortable.
       § Evaluations
                   o One panelist should distribute evaluations to the group and a separate evaluation to the sponsor, teacher, etc.
                   o One panelist should explain what is taking place (ex: "During these last few minutes, we'd like to ask you to fill out this brief evaluation on our program.  These evaluations are an important way of receiving feedback from you that will allow us to improve our presentations.")
       § Closure
                   o A panelist should distribute the handouts
                   o One panelist should announce that the panelists will stay after the session to chat and/or answer questions individually, remind the participants that the panel was provided by TransGender Michigan, and tell the participants how they can contact TransGender Michigan if they wanted to schedule a panel for another group in the future
                   o One panelist should thank the participants for coming to the presentation 

2.03 Post-Panel Wrap-Up

After the panel and post-panel chat with participants, the panelists should meet in another location to review the evaluations and give each other constructive criticism. 

One panelist will need to volunteer to return the evaluations to the panel coordinator(s) 

Within two days of the panel, panelists will need complete a post-panel evaluation and return it to the panel coordinator(s).  This can be done via email and must consist of the following:
       § Date/time/location of panel
       § What worked well in the panel?
       § What did not work well in the panel?
       § What is a suggestion for improvement? 

The panel coordinator(s) will follow up with panelists to give honest feedback based upon the evaluations and suggest ideas for improvement, if necessary.

3.0 Training of Panel Volunteers

Panel coordinator(s) will conduct training sessions at different locations as necessary. 

The training shall consist of the following:
       § Introduction to TransGender Michigan and its services
       § TransGender Michigan's Terms and Definitions
       § Basic structure of a panel
       § Development of a Personal Story
       § Key Elements in Using Speech as a Non-Violent Action
       § The LARA Method: Listen, Affirm, Respond, Add Information
       § Possible Difficult Questions/Comments and brainstorm ways to respond
       § Mock Panels 

Once potential panel volunteers attend the training, the panel coordinator(s) will determine whether or not the potential panel volunteers will be appropriate for our panel program.  Those that are deemed skilled and appropriate for our program will be added to the Yahoo! Group list.
If you would like to register to join our Speakers Bureau or schedule a Speakers Bureau engagment, please email
us at info@transgendermichigan.org or fill out the request form here: REQUEST

TransGender Michigan is a 501(c)(3) Michigan nonprofit organization.
  The services we provide would not be possible without the support of people like you.
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