10 reasons authors SHOULD make face-to-face networking a priority
Since we’ve been talking a bit about networking the last couple of posts, I decided to do a series of posts on the subject. You may groan, thinking I’m an author – what possible benefits could there be for me in networking? Or you may already be a fairly stellar networker, in which case, perhaps you could add your own thoughts to these posts in the comments section. The fact is that unless you are trained to do it well, you may not (a) see the value of networking, (b) do it very well, or (c) find it as highly beneficial as it could be. Our goal with this series is to help you correct those issues.
According to virtually every marketing expert, face-to-face meetings have the highest value in terms of making connections and building your sphere of influence. Yes, there’s a limit to the number of people you can meet, but that should not deter you from making the effort. The following are 10 reasons you, as an author, should make the effort to do some regular face-to-face networking.
- Get out from behind the keyboard. As you’re no doubt aware, writing is an isolated profession. Sure, you can hit your favorite coffeehouse for some socialization, but sitting amid a bunch of noisy strangers is not really the same as creating meaningful conversations and connections. Regular networking gives those of us who spend a lot of time alone the chance to mix and mingle with other like-minded folks.
- Practice talking about your book. Unless you are truly blessed with the gift of gab, chances are that it’s easier to write your message than it is to tell other people about it. Regular networking gives you the opportunity to do the ubiquitous 30-second commercial, during which time you can practice pitching your book.
- Meet other authors and writers. Virtually every industry has organizations devoted to it. Writing and publishing is no different. Sometimes it’s just good to get together with other writers to compare notes, share war stories, and swap tips and hints. One caveat: If you’re a freelancer and you’re networking with other freelancers, you must [learn to] embrace a prosperity perspective that says there’s plenty of work for all of you, rather than going to a place of pettiness and lack that pits you against each other as competitors.
- Meet other publishing industry experts. Beyond meeting other writers, it’s always good to grow your network of other publishing industry experts – people like editors, book designers, videographers who specialize in book trailers, web designers, intellectual property attorneys, etc.
- Be a resource for others. One of the fastest ways to create goodwill is by giving first. Regular networking gives you the opportunity to become a resource for others, whether that means making appropriate introductions, sharing tips and tools, or simply cheering on your colleagues’ successes.
- Learn new skills. Many networking events are tied to business development groups that offer presentations by speakers and experts of all stripes. If you’re new to publishing, or to business in general, these can be excellent opportunities to learn specific new skills like marketing, social media, accounting, public speaking, presentation skills, etc.
- Take a leadership role. When you find the right organization and decide to join, there’s almost a built-in opportunity to enhance your leadership skills by taking on a role within the organization. This does two things: (1) It helps you further develop your own skill set. (2) It gives you greater visibility within the organization.
- Open doors to speaking opportunities. As an organization leader, you will likely find yourself making greater connections with experts, speakers, and other organizational leaders. Pay attention and listen closely, and you may learn of excellent opportunities to speak and/or present to other groups.
- Create name recognition. One thing every author needs is a platform, which begins with local name recognition. Even if you live in a fairly small community, it will never hurt for more people to recognize and refer to you as an author. Parlay that renown into speaking opportunities, sales, and more.
- Sell more books. Many networking events make vendor tables/booths available to members and/or attendees. In the right setting, you can use such an opportunity to sell more books and create even greater visibility from which to grow your platform.
Next up, we’re going to dive into the basics: how to make a good first impression. You’d be amazed at how many things affect the way people think of you on your first meeting!
In the meantime, put your SBM thinking caps on and consider (new) places you might get out and make yourself visible!
We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.
There’s still time to get in on our 10-week program: SOCIAL MEDIA FOR AUTHORS. It starts Sept 5 and goes for 10 consecutive weeks. Sign up for single classes or pay for all 10 and receive a 25 percent discount. Week 1: Facebook Fan Pages (9/5/12); Week 2: Twitter (9/12/12); Week 3: LinkedIn (9/19/12); Week 4: Pinterest (9/26/12); Week 5: SlideShare (10/3/12); Week 6: YouTube (10/10/12); Week 7: StumbleUpon (10/17/12); Week 8: Ning (10/24/12); Week 9: Blogging 1 (10/31/12); Blogging 2 (11/7/12).