Meet a new member of my network and more importantly a new friend, Michael Anthony. After ShutterFest last week he sent me an idea for a guest post, but it was a little too long. So, a quick phone call and he was off and running!
What I love about this post is the simplicity of how easy it really is to make new friends at every conference or workshop you attend! However, the biggest challenge is all about taking action. You can't just talk about doing something, you have to, like Nike's tag line, just do it! Michael shows that he can walk the talk in this guest post and in far more detail on his blog!
The point is, networking is one of the most important reasons you should attend every conference you can make time for! As I've said before, you can watch the parade go by and stand on the sidelines or you can be in it!
Grab shots of Michael with Taylor Cincotta, me and Sal Cincotta. First rule - always get some pictures at every conference!
I have been to many photography conferences over the years and have found the best part of them is meeting new people. Are you having trouble with this? Are you shy or nervous? Guess what?! So is everyone else! Here are a few ideas to help you make a new pal!
1. Say hello. Fairly simple concept right? In the age of web communication personal interaction can be hard. The stranger next to you in a seminar is likely out of their element as well. Count to three, take a deep breathe, and just say hi. Don’t be scared you’ll have nothing in common; you're already in the same place.
2. Make 3 new friends. This is much easier than it sounds. In fact it is as simple as following the first tip. Carry your conversation beyond the obvious and take a few minutes and get to know the new person you are talking to. You may just become BFF’s.
3. Befriend the vendors. If you are a pro or a hobbyist chances are you have used one of the vendors at the conference. Most purchases we make are online in multiple areas of our businesses. Wouldn’t it be nice to put a face to the company? Plus, you never know when you might get hooked up with some free swag!
4. Grab a bite to eat. Your conference is probably located nowhere close to your kitchen. Ask one of your new pals or a complete stranger if they want to get lunch, dinner, or a late night snack after partying. This is a great time to build on your already budding relationship.
5. Don’t get star struck. The speakers at the conference are not rockstars (for the most part). They are people just like you and me. Go get a picture, ask them a follow-up question, or ask them to grab a bite. See how this works yet?
6. Follow up. So things went well, you exchanged business cards, you had some wonderful conversations and maybe you had a meal or two. Don’t make this a one convention-stand. Shoot your new friends an email or better yet, give them a ring and say how nice it was to meet them and keep in touch. You never know when you might be able to help each other out.