8.5.3 Find out who are citing your panel members work
In order to really impress, you could try to read some of the articles that have built on the panel members important works and comment intelligently on how they have done this. Many academics are not very much aware who is citing their work, so that knowledge might make an excellent impression.
You can find these citing articles easily. Simply double-click on the paper in question. This brings you straight to Google Scholar where you can find all citing articles (often even available in full text). Pick one that is related to a topic you know a lot (or at least something) about, so that you can talk comfortably about it. This might be an easy way to give you a connection to a person in the panel.
Or alternatively, pick an article that is written by an academic you know very well. If you are lucky your panel member knows the academic too, but didn't know that he or she cited their work. There is nothing like common acquaintances to build a quick connection!
I can particularly recommend this strategy when some of your panel members are senior administrators such as Deans or Head of Departments/Department Chairs. Oftentimes their heavy administrative load has prevented these academics from publishing much in recent years. They will be very pleased to be reminded that their research is still cited!