October is generally regarded as the start of the convention season. Summer is well over, schools and colleges are back in swing, and various groups and societies are looking to kick off their events.
One of the most rewarding and enjoyable aspects to joining the literary community, for me, has been the opportunity to take part in events such as Octcon (which is being held in the Camden Court Hotel this weekend) and Women in Horror Month. Once you start to make a name for yourself and get to know people, you will likely find yourself invited to take part as a speaker or a guest at any number of such events. Even if you’re not quite there yet, these events can be a great opportunity to network, learn about your craft and the industry, or just make new friends.
Of course, there’s no guidebook to how to approach events, so I’ve gathered up some top tips for how to get the most from an event, and give something back in return:
1: 7 Tips to Take Your Panel Discussion from Terrible to Terrific – Panels are wonderful fun, but they’re also a bit of a test of character. If you’re too quiet, you’re not contributing. If you talk over others, it’s not a discussion anymore. Follow these tips to make the most of your time.
2: 10 Most Common Mistakes Panelists Make During a Panel Discussion – I can’t stress enough how much one bad apple can spoil an entire panel. While you can’t do much if you’re on a panel with a bad panelist, you can at least make sure you’re not contributing to the problem.
3: How to Moderate a Panel Like a Pro – Just as quickly as you can be asked to join a panel, you could easily end up acting as the panel’s moderator. The moderator’s job is to present the topic and keep the discussion flowing, making sure everyone gets their turn to speak.
4: How to Prepare – Attending any conference or convention as a writer requires something a little more than attending as a fan. You’re representing your professional brand, after all. Consider these extra steps to make sure you’re ready for the event.
5: Everything You Need to Know to Survive a Convention – While there are vast differences between how volunteer-run fan conventions and professionally-run conferences are organised, there are some pieces of advice that are universal. Follow these tips, and you’ll be free to enjoy yourself.
That’s it for this week. If you’re coming to Octocon this weekend, here’s where you can find me!
(c) Paul Anthony Shortt