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As far as face-to-face conferences go, I’m more of a shy freelancer than a savvy one. In fact, I left a conference today wishing I could just do all my networking online like I did before.
But I’m not one to shy away from a challenge, especially one that’s essential for me to meet my freelancing goals.
So I put together this video to share with you, other shy freelancers, three lessons I learned about conference networking:
Lesson 1: Be prepared
And prepare ahead of time, so your intentions don’t get sideswiped by the unexpected. This guest post by Thursday Bram has plenty of advice on preparing for a conference.
Lesson 2: Change Your Mindset
Reduce the pressure by adopting a more helpful mindset, rather than thinking, “I need to leave this conference with X amount of projects in the pipeline.”
Lesson 3: Take Baby Steps, And Keep Going!
If you’re extremely anxious about networking face-to-face, start with smaller, more intimate get togethers with markets you’re more familiar with. Then move on to bigger, more unfamiliar groups. It’s like exercising: you have to push yourself beyond what’s comfortable, but not too much or you’ll get injured.
Don Crowther also has some excellent tips on attending conferences, for both networking and getting the most out of the content, here. It’s a longish video, but full of good advice.
What networking tips help you when you attend conferences? Share them in the comments below.