Thursday, July 14, 2011

First Step to Networking

Networking means getting out of your writer's box and meeting and learning about other people. While most of us might prefer to sit at our computers all day, limiting our public exposure to the clerk behind the post office counter, we need to allow time to network.

Why? Well, it can get lonely talking to yourself and your imaginary characters all day. Plus, every time you meet a new person or put yourself in a different situation, you learn something, about that person, about the world, about yourself. You can exchange both ideas and business cards. And probably most importantly, you meet people who might someday advance your career.

There are three steps or areas to Successful Networking for the writer. Today, we cover the first step.

Step One:

Don't just join organizations then read their newsletters in the safety of your home. Go to meetings, talk to people, find out about them, and -- this is important -- listen. Go to conventions and workshops, introduce yourself to fellow writers, as well as editors and agents, share ideas, and -- this is important -- listen. When you're at a book signing, don't just grab passersby and launch into the spiel about your book. Ask a question, put the book into their hands so they get the feel for it and can peruse it, and -- this is important -- listen.

Okay, this is a test ... what's the first and probably most important part of networking? I know you know the answer, because you were … listening.
Step One to Successful Networking -- Listen

19 comments:

  1. I know I can do better at this.

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  2. Listening is an art by itself...I'm not sure I've mastered it yet, my tongue seems to have a life of its own. :( But, Like Diane, I know I can do better!

    Judy, South Africa

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  3. Excellent points, Helen. I also find that prolonged periods just sitting at home stifles the creative flow. You have to get out in the world if only to get more grist for the mill.

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  4. I'm taking your advice, Helen, and going to a writing association's local meeting. The topic intrigued me, QR Codes. What a growing phenomenon they are, I'll be interested in hearing what the speaker says about them.

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  5. I'm very bad about going out and meeting people - although I'm a good listener because I don't talk!
    Wallflower here. :)

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  6. The thing I regret most about letting my membership in RWA expire is not being able to attend the meetings of my local group and network. I wish there were more groups in my area.

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  7. But real life people are so scary! I love the online networking, but KNOW I need some practice on the real life version... *sighs* Okay, okay. I'll try. I can probably listen...

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  8. I just attended a small writing support group for the first time last night and it was very helpful. But in terms of networking, I've dropped out of all the groups I was a member of - just not enough time. I think I need to re-think this.
    Karen

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  9. Very true Helen. My goal this year is to get more involved in local events. I'll make sure I remember to listen.
    Ann

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  10. I've learned to be a good listener over the years. Its important the other party feels that they are important. People who interrupt or talk over others really bother me.

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  11. You're right, as usual, Helen ... but why does success always require me to get out of my comfort zone? Are we seeing a pattern here?

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  12. That's some good advice.

    And I havenæt been to a proper conference in 4 years, but this fall I will attend one,in San Antonio, not writing, but geophysics. And I'm giving a talk as usual >:)

    Cold As Heaven

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  13. I really need to work on networking in person. I'm social butterfly until it comes to promoting myself, then I get shy and question what I have to offer. I've met a lot of writers with this problem, so I'm not alone and I'm working on my confidence!

    I'm now following and I look forward to visiting again.

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  14. I'm listening. Such an important skill to nurture. People feel good when someone shows an interest in them. We all want some attention, want to feel like others care. Everyone has their story if we take the time to listen to them.

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  15. Very good advice. We like to speak too often.

    Chemical Fusion

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  16. Great post and sound advice. I meet a lot of people, but not so much writer types.

    Happy Weekend!

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  17. Good advice, Helen. I've always believed that listening--not imitation--is the sincerest form of flattery.

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  18. Simple and easy. And very true. Like Diane said, I can be better at this.

    I need to be more active in the groups I'm part of. Making time. sigh.

    Sia McKye's Thoughts...OVER COFFEE

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  19. Hi Helen .. Listening = an essential of life ... others' ideas and opinions are more important to them .. and thus in the long term to you - finding out more about others so you can 'share' with them - in their eyes you'll be very interested.

    So true - not easy to do .. happy weekend .. Hilary

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