Jessie: In New Hampshire, furiously writing the first draft of my next novel
The Wickeds have all attended conferences for years. We’ve attended panels on topics ranging from craft to social media to unusual poisons. Some of us have moderated panels and we’ve all been speakers. Today I’m wondering what your best advice is for being a good panelist?
Julie: Some of my panelist advice comes from being a panelist. Other advice comes from being an audience member. My best advice is to be an active participant. Listen to other panelists, and react. Smile (make smiling your resting face), nod, and listen. Be prepared (if you know what your panelist is going to say), but adapt to the conversation that is going on.
Jessie: Mine is to sit up straight and to have fun. Make eye contact with people in the audience. If you look bored or uncomfortable it will make the audience feel ill at ease and that is not good for anyone.
Sherry: Don’t take over the panel by talking too long. Everyone on the panel wants a chance to talk about their books too! And do stay in the moment so you don’t have to ask your moderator to repeat the question.
Edith: These are all good. Also: make sure you know at least something about your fellow panelists’ books, including the moderator’s, even if you don’t have time to read them. I was listening to a panel once where the best-known author on it slid in late (on a Sunday morning) and made a crack about how she was the only one on the panel who wrote about a priest/minister/pastor. The books of another author on the panel also featured a priest/minister/pastor. That was just poor form. Know who you’re going to be sitting up there with and what they write.
Barb: Being on a panel is sort of like acting–be in the moment, listen, react. The best panels turn into conversations. Go with, “That’s really interesting, let me add to that.” NOT “I’m waiting for you to stop talking, so I can talk.”
Liz: Much like what everyone’s said. I’ve found establishing a rapport with other panelists as much as you can so you can have a conversation rather than an independent series of comments engages the audience much more.
Readers: Experience with being on a panel of any kind? Please share. Help us be better panelists!