Convention Idea: A Range of Talent

The roundup of Pro Fan Panel Ideas is here.

When you select a panel of people for your profane panels, workshops, etc. one of the questions that you'll face is what level of experience do you want.  Do you want an experienced pro – with the risk that others may not even understand them?  Do you want a newer pro – with the risk they don't know enough?  Do you want a student on their way there – but of course they have less credibility?

Let me toss out an idea for profan panels: provide a range of experience when appropriate.

Put an old salt, a new careerist, and a student on the same panel – or some other range of skill and experience.  Let them talk together, fight it out, or cover different areas of knowledge.  Either way, try a range.


  • It lets you give a variety of views.
  • It lets you give a variety of experiences relevant to people.  The new student may not be experienced but they know what current students are facing now.  The old hand may not get what it's like to start out today, but they know what current professionals are facing.
  • It gives you great cross-fertilization of ideas.  People of different levels of experience can put their minds together and come up with great panel ideas and sessions with less groupthink.
  • It also lets you spread or reuse panel resources.

So don't just focus on one experience level in your profan panels – go for a wide selection at once!

– Steven Savage