Best Practices for How to Network
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In March I am attending a writer’s conference where I’ll have a chance to meet fellow writers as well as agents. And though I am grateful for the opportunity, it is also intimidating to meet a big crowd of strangers you have to talk to. But writers are businesspeople and networking is important for any writer to do whenever they can. So let’s look at some best practices for networking.
- Have a goal in mind. Whether you want to connect to other writers or want to pitch your book to agents or publishers, know what you’re aiming for and develop a plan for executing it.
- Start a conversation with others. This can be nerve wracking but you can prepare yourself for talking to make things easier. Make a list of possible topics or conversation starters and practice using them. You can practice in a mirror to make it as natural as possible. When you’re in the moment, remember to smile and really listen to what the other person is saying before you respond. And always say “It’s nice to meet you.” Stay professional and stay polite.
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- Repeat their name as you meet others. It will help you remember their name and show you are engaged in each introduction.
- Ask questions about them. People like talking about themselves and it gives you a break from speaking. Just don’t steer the conversation too far away from yourself. You should be introducing yourself to others as well as getting to know everybody else.
- Take notes on the backs of business cards to help you remember who each person/card is.
- Have a strategy for how to end conversations. They’ll remember how you left that conversation. It’s your last chance to make a good or bad impression so don’t leave abruptly or awkwardly.
- Reach out to your new contacts soon after the event to reinforce your new connections and so they’ll remember you. Add them on social media and send them a personalized message.
These strategies help prepare you for the daunting experience of meeting new people. Networking is important so fight your shyness and nerves and start some conversations. You never know how valuable that friendship might become. What are your tips for networking? Share below and happy writing.
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