I’ve long said that conventions are great places to network, but I didn’t realize the true number of possible networking opportunities available until I attended “When Words Collide”.
There are the normal places like the dealer’s room. You can meet readers, writers and often publishers, editors and agents. The only key to success here is to be willing to talk to people and have business cards available.
Then there are the panels. If you are speaking on the panels, don’t be afraid to spend a few minutes pimping yourself. Do it in small bite-sized morsels throughout the panel. Be relevant and friendly. Don’t oversell yourself and, once again, have business cards available. If you are attending and listening to a panel, ask questions. Introduce yourself to other attendees and panelists. And, oh yes, have business cards available.
Then there are the room parties, lounges and restaurants. Go to any and all that you can. If you have met any people during the day, hang out with them at the parties and extend your circle of friends.
I had the pleasure of doing all of the above things and maybe even a couple more. I left the convention with many more acquaintances (and even a few new friends) AND I have several interviewees lined up and a potential pitch session for an upcoming project.
Not bad for a weekend.
The keys to my success? Business cards and the willingness to talk to people. It was a writer’s convention so I had no problem talking about my favorite topic. Of course, everyone else wanted to talk about the same thing so it was a win/win situation all around.