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Archive for July 23rd, 2015

I’ve attended and participated in many writers conferences over the years. When I return home after spending a day or more surrounded by other people who love writing and books as much as I do, I usually feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle the stack of writing projects on my desk (and floor and bookcase top…)

Sometimes, I’ve managed to take helpful notes. If so, I try to type those up while my memory of the workshop or presentation is still fresh. The longer I wait to type those notes, the fuzzier my memory of the extra details I didn’t jot down will become.

Sometimes, I’ve made a few interesting contacts. And I’ll have a stack of business cards ready to add to my contact file. Lesson learned over the years – always jot a note to yourself on the back of each business card so you’ll remember why this person is important to you. Again, as soon as you get home, expand those notes so in a few months the networking contact will still have meaning.

Sometimes, attending a conference will lead to another presentation opportunity. Follow up on the contact as soon as you’re able to do so. You might remember, but the other person’s memory of the offered (or mentioned) opportunity will soon fade. Networking only works when you follow up!

When presenting, sometimes the presentation doesn’t go as you plan. As soon as you get home, review why it wasn’t as good as it could have been. Come up with ideas to improve the presentation for the next time you’re asked to speak on that subject.

A note here – my worst presentation wasn’t due to anything I did in particular! My presentation time slot was the last of the day, the room was stiffling, there was a loud fan directly beside me, a librarian kept moving around behind me, there were too many people crammed in the room… I tried to adjust for the circumstances, and veering from my planned presentation made me anxious and eager to “just get it over with.” If this conference asks me again to do a presentation, I’ll request an earlier time slot and a more spacious room. I’ll also “stick to the plan,” so I feel more relaxed.

An interesting take on making the most of a writing conference can be found in this Build Book Buzz article.

Hope to see you at a writing conference!

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