Confession: For me, the scariest part of a writer’s conference is the cocktail party. There’s no structure. No speaker. No handouts. Instead, hundreds of people who are used to spending long hours at a keyboard in coffee-stained jammies are let loose into a hotel ball room and left to fend for themselves. There are a few, you can spot them right away, who relish these things. But for many of us, it’s a struggle. Here are some practical tips for tackling those introverted road blocks.
Step 1: Prepare in Advance
- Google the keynote speakers, the VIP attendees, or anyone in particular you would like to meet at the event. It is amazing what you can learn. Perhaps someone shares your passion for rescue dogs and roller derby;
- Ask friends who know people you’d like to meet if they’d be willing to set up a pre-event introduction, either online or off;
- Send an Email to three people you’d like to get to know better, saying “I heard from [mutual friend] that you’re going to be at the SCBWI Summer Conference. I’ve heard so much about you, and I’m really looking forward to meeting you in person. Hope to see you there!”;
- Enlist a Friend to Go with You;
- Volunteer to Help with the Event;
- Go with a Specific Goal in Mind: e.g., I will find a critique partner.
Step 2: Practice Your Small Talk [Read more…]