Making Conference Connections

Rachel Kent

Blogger: Rachel Kent

Many of you are gearing up to attend the ACFW (American  Christian Fiction Writers) Conference next week,and I’m sure some of you are nervous about the conference.

Will you be able to meet with that editor or agent you are dying to connect with? Will your appointments go well? Will the conference be worth it? Will you have anyone to hang out with?

To help you to make the most of the conference (or any conference, really), I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone a little bit and focus on connecting with the other writers who are there, too. You will meet with agents and editors, but the best encouragers and cheerleaders are fellow writers.

Some of you have friends going whom you are excited to meet up with, but use this opportunity to be a friend to those who aren’t in your specific group. There are so many benefits to this!

First, reaching out to someone who looks scared or lonely could be what makes or breaks the conference for the other person. We’ve all been that new, scared person, and we know how helpful it is when someone takes us under her wing and shows us the ropes. Inviting a person you don’t know to eat a meal with you is a great way to get to know them and to welcome them.

Another benefit to making the effort to meet more conferees is the opportunity to network. You can learn so much from those around you, and many opportunities are opened up through networking. Perhaps you’ll find someone with similar interests, and you could guest blog for each other. Or you might find a group of people to create a novella collection with. Or perhaps you could find a great critique partner. And the people you meet might know other people you should meet after they get to know you. There are so many great things that can happen because of networking.

If you are scared of approaching people, remember YOU have so much to offer as well. You can be a comforter, a critique partner, a teacher, a friend. You don’t need to go around asking people for things, but instead you can offer them a listening ear and let the friendships and networks grow naturally.

I pray you all have a wonderful time at your next conference, and I look forward to hearing from you about the connections you make.

What are you most nervous about before conferences?

Is it easy or hard for you to approach people you don’t know to get to know them better?

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