From massive event spreading across cities to smaller gatherings in one building, conventions offer a wide array of things to do. Costume contests, vendors hall, game rooms, meet ups, panels and more have become staples at many conventions across the world. Most everything is included with registration therefore attendees should fully take advantage of what their chosen convention has to offer.
Panels have become one of the go to places at conventions although some attendees – especially newer ones – may not get the benefit of sitting in a room for an hour listening to people talk. With the nature of conventions in this era, panels have become the place for huge announcements or seeing your favorite voice actors. Panels offer perspectives on issues within the community and even showcase very specific fandoms. Essentially, panels now run the gamut of topics and there is likely something for everyone to experience.
Because of the increasing popularity of panels, they can often take some planning to fit them into your convention schedule. Checking for a convention’s schedule prior to the arrival date allows time to not only see what panels the convention will be offering, but also allows for an attendee to schedule their events accordingly.
Here are 5 tips for attending panels at conventions:
- Arrive early – There are some panels where you can walk right in at the time it begins. Often you may need to arrive early (even hours early depending on the panel or convention) to make certain that you get a seat. Conventions such as San Diego Comic Con, New York Comic Con, etc may require you to walk through other panels to make sure you get into the one you want. Some panels are so popular they may require wristbands.
- Be courteous of the panelist – Attendees should be respectful of panelists especially when it comes to questions. If the convention does not screen questions prior to attendees asking them, be mindful that there may be things panelists are unable to discuss or panelists simply may want to redirect to more appropriate topics.
- Be polite – It is ok to leave a panel if necessary, but try to slip out without too much notice. As for panelists, do not call out people that may be leaving the panel because you are unaware of why they may have to leave.
- Interact with the Panel – If the panel has interactive elements, interact! There is nothing more awkward for a panel when no one asks a question or cheers when prompted.
- It is OK to not do everything! – There are so many things going on at a convention at all times that attendees can often get overwhelmed. Making a schedule is helpful, but do know that things can go awry. Prioritize your time and get to the panels and events that you can.