It Was Bad: How to Recover From a Bad Panel Presentation

We all have them at some point during our Convention Crawling.

Someone didn’t spend enough time putting together their panel for the big day or parts of an otherwise, would-be-great panel fell through the night of.

But! You should know that recovering from such a blunder is not too late!

Think of it as a redemption for extremely, poor planning on your part.

Take the time to research before submitting.

You may have noticed when clicking a “submit a panel” button on your chosen con page, there is no area for submitting samples of your proposed panel. It’s not a mistake, the scheduling coordinator(s) have only 6 – 2 months to put together a schedule of events for attendees. Based on the description and your best explanation of what the panel is about, that’s all the scheduling coordinator has time to judge.

Their busy making sure the Main Guests of Honor are scheduled as requested and getting  from meeting after meeting for main events, the hotel staff introductions and plenty more.

So, before you hit that submit button….Before, you select the days and prefered time for your panel.. Even before you get that dreaded email of  approval..Ask yourself….

Can I put this panel together in “x” amount of months before con? Or do I need more time from the submission date? How complete is my panel as of this “x” date that I plan to submit?

This often saves me a ton of heartache in my hotel room, when all I have left is to add a few photos from my saved folder.

Listen to the critics, but nitpick the feedback.

So, your panel wasn’t as stellar as you first thought. That’s okay!

Ask your audience, if they haven’t all slipped out by the end, if there’s any feedback they might have about the panel. I know this can be intimidating to some people, but it really does help improve your future presentations. Everytime I ask for a brief feedback, I’m floored by the response of attendees. But, that comes from being in the scene for a while too.

While not all feedback is great, you can still pick apart the ones that do stand out to you.

Say, someone asks you do a more indepth look at your subject. It could be explaining the origins of “X-Y-Z” or may be why “X” is a more common practice than “Z”. This can enhance your panel the next time around.

Be open to sharing the workload.

I’m very, very guilty of trying to shoulder everything myself. Especially, when I have a specific tone I like my panels to flow as. But, that doesn’t mean, you can’t share the work with another. Try divvying up the chunkier bits or facts hunting portions of your panel for your partner to look into or even compare your notes on.

I once did a “Women in Gaming” panel that focused on groundwork women developers did in AAA companies. Turns out, my partner was a little more heavy into the scene and came up with additional ladies to talk about. Plus, a great way to introduce some not so well known, ladies to the audience.

Save, save, backup, save.

Always, always , always remember to save your work in at least three different places.

While your panel might be nearly finished, adjusted based on feedback and tweaked. Don’t forget to save it on a flash drive/thumb drive (2, just in case), an external hard drive, and in an folder system that’s clearly named the title of your panel.

I don’t really like to rely on internet based storage unless, I know for sure, that I can access it again from a hotel wifi. It’s very rare that panelist will have access to the wifi in a convention center, unless you’ve paid the daily rate for access.

So, once again.

Save in a non-internet reliant medium and you should be golden! Yes, even your phone!

I hope this was helpful to someone out there.

Stay tuned for more tidbits and future videos from Geeky Nomadic.

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