When I attended my second writer's conference, I didn't just meet people. I made friends because I learned how to communicate to writers in addition to agents and editors.
You can't go into a conference prepared for the fifteen minute appointments with agents and editors and believe your job is done. Keynotes, meals, sessions, and hallways all create opportunities to communicate with attendees and faculty of the conference.
- Be clear-- Open your mouth and enunciate your words. Think about what your going to say before you start talking. Mumbling over uncertain words not only is hard for others to understand, but it gives off the appearance of low confidence.
- Be confident-- Smile. Look them in the eye and nod in approval of what they are saying. Don't be afraid to say," I don't know," if you don't have an answer. Agents and editors would rather you admit you don't know something and be willing to learn than you try to make up an answer.
- Be teachable-- Listen. When editors and agents point out something in your writing that needs to be improved, don't get defensive. Think through their suggestions and offer solutions. Don't be so attached to your words that you become hard to work with. Their goal is to make your story the best it can be. Isn't that your goal too?
- Be intentional--Have a purpose for every word that comes out of your moth. When you enter a meeting, have specific questions planned. Don't be afraid to ask other writers if they have plans for lunch. If you all eat in the same place anyway, ask them to sit with you. Ask them questions about their own life as well.
- Be understanding--The conference doesn't revolve around you. Thank the people who make time to talk with you. Know that the agents and editors are there to work first and help writers second. Their lives are busy, and they'll only get more hectic after the conference.
Communication is huge at a writer's conference. Yes, it can help your writing career, but it can help you make friends too
~ Alyson Schroll