So here is the third part of my series for authors who want to do conventions. Part 1 was all about the mental prep. Part 2 is about Physical Prep/Packing for a Weekend Convention. This part is about being a Panelist/Guest of the Convention/Visiting Pro or whatever the conventions call you.
Here are my top ten rules for being a good panelist. I will admit these all boil down to: Be Respectful!
- Be on time to your panels.
- Read the panel description and prepare some basic on-topic comments.
- If you are the moderator, MODERATE. That means make sure everyone has a chance to speak. If someone is quiet, bring them back into the conversation. If someone tries to take over, gently shut them down. “Well I see your viewpoint on that, what do you think, [Person who hasn’t gotten a word in]?
- A panel is not a monologue. Give all other panelists a chance to speak.
- If another panelist says something asinine, learn to kindly say, “Well I see your viewpoint on that, mine is X” (Notice a pattern.)
- Unless there is a serious issue, just go with the flow.
If there is a major problem, tell the Programming coordinator immediately so he, she or zie can help you solve it. OR if there is nothing to be done, you can leave them a comment so maybe something can be done for next year. Remember conventions are run by volunteers who graciously donate their time and resources.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously, if you make a mistake, laugh it off or apologize which ever is appropriate.
- Enjoy the convention, but don’t get stinking drunk at room parties. (This is nothing against alcohol, this is about being prepared and knowing your limit. If you feel pressured, nobody but the bartender need know there is not vodka in your cranberry juice.)
- Be nice to the Greenroom staff and thank them for the food and hospitality.
- And finally: be gracious to your fans. They are the reason you are here!
Did I miss anything? What other advice do authors have for would-be panelists?