This is a short list of advice for convention panelists.
1. You’re not that funny. Also, don’t trust your audience.
Your jokes fall flat, you nervously stutter and rely on your improv skills to see you through. When you fail on your own, you look to the audience for a hail-mary but that won’t work because…
Audience participation is an absolute fucking BAD IDEA. You are not skilled enough to pull this off. I was at one panel where the panelists were fucking excellent comedians, at the top of their game, and the Q&A part still sucked.
The only people to talk during these sections are the people that should never talk in any situation. Their speech impediments and mental disorders somehow compel them to stutter through stupid thought after stupid thought, leaving you in a worse place than you were when you first began this “discussion”.
So don’t fucking risk it. Some audience participation is all right, but make sure you can reign it back in when the inbreds start to “contribute” to the discussion.
2. You don’t fucking practice.
Put in some fucking time to work out the problems. Do a practice run… 10 times. Practice with others. Practice with an audience. Record yourself and analyze what you could do better. There is nothing you can do that is more important than making sure your presentation is finely tuned.
You are not good enough to wing it. Don’t waste your time or your audience’s with a shitty performance. You only have one chance to not be a miserable failure at the con, so make sure you fucking nail it here.
3. Your topic is garbage/not related to anime.
If I see another fucking Dr. Who panel at an anime convention, I’m gonna fucking flip my shit.
Dr. Who is not anime-related
My Little Pony is not anime-related
Homestuck is not anime-related
Star Wars is not anime-related
Keep your shitty fucking fandoms that have no relation to anime out of fucking anime cons. Go found Faggot-con or something and take your stupid shit there. They’re called anime cons for a fucking reason and it’s not because they cater to d20-carrying losers.
4. Use some fucking visuals, but don’t overdo it.
By “visuals”, I do not mean “Youtube videos”. Don’t use any fucking videos. You’re the fucking presentation here, so own it. Static text/images are fine to provide backup for what you’re saying. That way the audience can switch between whatever you’ve got up on the screen and you. Nobody wants to stare at a speaker for 60-fucking-minutes. Give them a chance to switch things up a bit and look elsewhere.
If you MUST use a video, keep it fucking short. If you make me watch a video for longer than five minutes, I’m leaving your fucking panel. The only acceptable time for lengthy Youtube videos is at fucking AMV panels. Otherwise, you’re wasting my time by substituting for your failure as a presenter.
5. Unless you’re giving out anime-themed condoms or free blowjobs, I don’t want shit from your panel.
No fucking handouts. I don’t give a shit about a piece of paper that describes the flow of your presentation; this isn’t fucking high school. If you’re giving shit out, make sure it’s fucking awesome. Candy does not count. I paid $60 for a fucking ticket, $300 for the plane ticket and untold hundreds for my hotel room. I can afford a $2 bag of candy on my own. Gimme something I can’t get anywhere else or don’t waste my time handing your stupid shit out.
6. Shut up about yourself.
I (probably) didn’t come for your fucking biography. Unless your experience is relevant to the topic at hand, shut up. And I most assuredly don’t want to hear about how great other cons were. I didn’t go to those cons, so stop making me feel like I’m getting the short end of the stick by attending this one.
This is a very short list that’s not comprehensive at all. Think back to panels you attended and figure out what worked and what didn’t. This will help you out a lot. Most importantly, you need to fucking practice your presentation. See what works best, get feedback, and hone your topic to perfection. Don’t be that person who puts on a shitty panel and wastes everyone’s time.