Alright two. Two firsts. But they were big firsts, alright?
One of these was my first ever attempt at moderating a panel. Those of you who read yesterday's post know that this panel was:
Transport and Armament in the Ancient and Medieval World or The "I Geek Out Over Celtic Studies Stuff... Again" Panel
It was fantastic. Panellists Ariel Bolton, Evan May, and Jean-Louis Trudel were wonderful, knowledgeable and generous speakers and the information they managed impart was fiercely fascinating.
I hope I was a worthy moderator.
Unsurprisingly for anyone who knows me, I was petrified. Equally as unsurprisingly, I started off with a very difficult question, throwing everyone for a loop. I tried as moderator to focus on the topic in a way that would help writers and aspiring writers, talking about things to bear in mind when researching for fiction, writing and so forth.
I think the discussion was incredibly interesting... but I'm biased because I find the topic fiercely interesting.
I'm still quite unsure about my performance as a moderator, but It was a great panel.
Moderating is one of those skills that I feel I need to acquire in order to grow professionally. That said, I did resist being a moderator this year. I didn't feel I was equal to the task.
Much research went into what makes a good panel moderator, and though I did try to follow their very good advice, I felt woefully unprepared. That was pretty much how I felt the entire weekend, however.
Some things I learnt while moderating:
- Sometimes conversation dies at the very beginning of a panel. You need at least five questions planned to keep the conversation moving.
- BRING A PAD AND PEN. Sometimes speakers say something or touch on something briefly that is well worth exploring further. JOT THAT SHIT DOWN!
- It's okay to jump in with extra information every once in a while, but your job is to guide the conversation, not dominate it (fingers crossed my geek outs were kept to a minimum).
- Audience questions are your friend!
- Respect is key. Show it. Enforce it.
And that's everything I can think of right now.
It is impossible for me to have an objective view of my performance, so I'll leave it up to the audience and panellists decide.
Would I do it again? Yes. Would I be good at it? Eeeeeeeeh.... I mean, I couldn't be worse, and practice does make perfect!
Tomorrow I'll be blogging about my pitching sessions. Oh, pitching...