Every week brings you one step closer to this year’s RWA National Conference!! Are you excited? Are you nervous? Are you ready?
Last year I went to the conference and it was my first. I had no idea what it would be like or what I needed or…basically, I knew nothing. I still don’t know a heck of a lot, but I definitely know more now than I did then. Maybe something I learned will be helpful to someone else. So here goes!
1. Bring a sweater or dress in layers. I found that every conference room was a different temperature than the last. Some were just a shade above frigid.
2. Bring extra pens. You never know when you’ll need another one. I took pens with my name and website on them to use. When someone needed a pen because theirs stopped working or got lost, I was able to offer them one of mine to use and keep. Bonus, they took my name and website with them!
3. Some kind of compact notebook is good enough. I read a tip last year that said it was a good idea to print off the handouts for the workshops you want to attend in advance so you can write your notes on them. Well, I did that and it didn’t work for me. It was just cumbersome to deal with all that paper. I even bought a business folder thing that had a pad of paper for notes and a folder for the handouts. It was too much. It was too big to fit in my bag, so I ended up carrying it all the time. Just get a nice little coil notebook or whatever else fits in your bag easily and is comfortable to write in.
4. Take business cards and actually hand them out. It feels weird to offer them to people, but do it. You’re there to network. Also, when someone gives you their business card, take a second to write something on the back of it that will remind you about your meeting with them. Maybe something you spoke about, or where they were from, or even other writer friends you have in common. When you get to home after the conference, you’ll have a bunch of business cards and it can be tough to remember who is who. Notes help!
**My name badge holder thingy (it’s a technical term *ahem*) had a place where you could slip in a few business cards. I carried a few of my own in there and then anytime I needed on to give out, it was quick and easy to grab one!
5. Wear your name badge everywhere! You want people to know that you are with the conference so you instantly have something to talk about. Wear your badge when you go grab a coffee or a late night drink. Unless of course you don’t want to be seen…Where you planning on sneaking off to anyway??
6. Take a little time to sit and relax! Just because you’re at this awesome conference doesn’t mean that you don’t need a little down time too. Go for a drink with friends or go to the bar and make new friends! Room service is tempting, but force yourself out of your room and into the restaurants in the hotel to mingle and mix with other writerly folks.
7. If you’ve got a pitch appointment, don’t chicken out! Just focus on your goals, suck up your nerves and do it. You can read my Pitching Tips here!