In my previous blog post I mentioned that I was going to be on a few panels at ConQuest, and I had a blast! It was a lot of fun getting to speak on panels, connecting with other authors, and sharing writing tips and knowledge. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to moderate a panel on creating languages (because creating languages is a lot of fun), and I hope to do so again in the future. Of course, I still have a lot to work on in order to be a better panelist and moderator, but I felt like this was a good start. (I’ve done a couple smaller panels before, but this was the first one focused solely on writing that was pre-planned).
If you haven’t spoken on a panel before and are looking for advice, I highly recommend listening to Writing Excuses’ podcast, Season 10: Episode 37. It had excellent tips on how to be a good panelist and moderator. Those tips helped me feel a lot more prepared–and thus more comfortable, on the panels.
Number one tip from the podcast: Allow panels to be conversations (build on what other authors have said rather than “waiting to speak,” and don’t hog all the talking time).
The second tip was preparation. For each panel I was on, I went through and read the description, then made a list of notes that I thought might be interesting to bring up or ask questions about, as well as relevant information. In a couple cases, I had to go do a short bit of research so I could remember the exact details. Having a few of the processes and rules written down made it easier for me to look back during the panel and make an exact quote, rather than stumble over something I suddenly can’t remember. And even though I really didn’t reference the notes often during the panel, it was a great refresher to read through before the panel started.
This was especially helpful for being a moderator, since I was able to form a list of questions that I could use if there was a dead beat… and also to segue conversations and go deeper into a topic once a panelist brought it up in the natural course of things.
Plus, I now have a whole set of notes of things I want to write blog posts about, and how I’d like to connect them back to my own writings (since using examples makes it a lot easier to understand).
Needless to say, I had a lot of fun both being on panels and listening to them. But now that the convention is over, it’s time to get back to writing.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. 🙂
Have you had any experience being on panels, and if so, do you have any tips for authors who want to be panelists?
4 responses to “Thoughts on Writing – Speaking on Panels”
I did enjoy your post and found it helpful. I have a few presentations coming up and have been culling and organizing my notes from earlier panels and discussions. I hadn’t thought about looking for on-line advice, but there was your blog! (Which I often read). Thanks for your clear advice and, as always, for your enthusiasm. Contagious.
Glad I could be helpful. Good luck with your upcoming presentations! 😀
I would have loved to have been a part of the audience at your panels. Recently, I was part of a panel at UCM to talk to students about aging.I wasn’t sure what to expect so I took a photo album from my early childhood. It generated a lot of questions.
Cool. Having charts and pictures seems to help in some presentations. I saw one panel at ConQuest about Tolkien’s “The Silmarillion,” and the presenter did an awesome job making it easy to follow by including pictures of characters and charts of the genealogy. 🙂