News — Cthulhu 101

Corner-booth Blog #5 - A Con Job: Tips for convention panel speakers

Posted by Jonathan Chaffin on

Panels are fun, but they can be stressful for panelists, and the stress can come from some strange directions.  I wanted to run down some of the more common thoughts and observations I've had, on the off chance they are useful to someone about to be on their first convention panel.

  1. So you're going to be on a panel…GREAT! They are fun! REMEMBER THAT! In any setting you can enjoy the atmosphere or you can BE part of the atmosphere.  If you've been asked to be on a panel (or Q&A session, or to speak) it means, first and foremost, the panel organizer (track director or whoever) trusts you to contribute positively to the panel/track/convention. Heady times, my friend!  
  2. Either you are an authority on a subject, were directly involved, have a unique perspective, or are really entertaining in front of a crowd.  Or all of the above.  Let that be your armor against self-consciousness and doubt; the organizer trusts you.  Try and relax and remember that you are there in  front of the crowd to be you; to bring your knowledge and experience and personality to the panel.
  3. Don't let the organizer down.  Here's a handy dandy sub-list that will help you out.

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