7 Tips to Networking at a Conference

Write Canada conference 2014

Write Canada conference 2014

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Write Canada conference 2014

7 tips to Networking at a Conference

I’ve attended the Write Canada conference every year since 2003, so I feel I’ve got a pretty good handle on networking.

Obvious tips would be to suggest that you: 1) carry business cards in your right pocket and collect other attendees’ cards in your left. (This is assuming you wear a jacket or pants that have pockets) and, 2) wear your name tag on the upper right side of your chest. (Again, assuming that it’s a name tag that is removable.)

Although these tips may be handy and I could probably come up with 5 more similar ideas like, 3) volunteer at the event, 4) ask open-ended questions, 5) remember to smile, 6) keep records of who you meet, and 7) followup with a short email, I felt a nudge in my spirit that networking is so much more than this. My thoughts were confirmed a number of times at the 2014 Write Canada conference.

Simply put, networking is about helping others. It’s not about schmoosing and looking to see what’s in it for you. It’s about meeting the needs of others.

Marcia Laycock summarized this beautifully for me on our ride home from the conference. She explained that each year she chooses a word that she lives up to. It could be grace, forgiveness, miracle – well, anything really.

Her word for this year? Give.

Giving is not limited to finances. She may give a word of encouragement, give a helping hand, or give up her time to talk with a person. This is networking at its core. It’s not selfish or self-centred. It’s meeting other people and asking yourself, “How can I help them?”

Years ago I was asked to review Boomy Tookan’s book, New Year’s Resolutions: The Guide to Getting It Right Why Many New Year Resolutions Fail Within 30 Days How To Make Yours Work and Kick Start Your Year Book. I found the nugget of genius in the last chapter. He titled the chapter, “What Will You Do For Others.” What was the nugget that changed my life?

“The way to get what you want is to help other people get what they want.”

Yes! This is the secret to networking.

Tookan writes, “I learnt many years ago that the way to think about how much you want to earn is to think about how much you want to give. Yes; the amount of money you want to give away should be your first thought.”

Jeff Goins puts it this way,

“It’s not what you know. It’s not who you know. It’s who you help.”

It’s simply the principle of sowing and reaping. I believe the Bible may have a thing or two to say on this topic. “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously (2 Corinthians 9:6 NIV).”

As Christ-followers let’s get out there and network! See you at the next Write Canada conference!

I Am Home – Meeting Other Like Minded Writers at a Writer’s Conference

TWG Write! Canada 2011 002

Guelph Bible Conference Centre grounds

My name is Kimberley Payne and I am a writer.

I won my first award for writing as a grade 4 student. I had entered the Legion’s poetry contest and won second prize. I remember having to stand in front of a small audience to read my poem–it felt both freeing and frightening.

I kept a journal of all my trips camping with my family and my two-week stint in Quebec during a student exchange in grade ten. I still have these journals.

I also uncovered a romance story that I had written to amuse my girlfriend in high school. Each week, I wrote a chapter with a new adventure. They’re so embarrassing to read now as an adult!

In my dark days, I wrote poetry. I’ve kept many of these poems – mainly as reminders of how difficult life is as a teenager. Many speak on suicide and my continuous battle with depression.

Pen pals were seen as lifelines. I would write up to ten pages detailing my life and couldn’t wait to receive a new letter in the mail from around the world. I especially liked to read about my cousin’s life in the Netherlands.

I wrote for the school newspaper but focused mainly on creating fun things like word jumbles and crossword puzzles.

I wrote poems for special events like birthdays,weddings, and anniversaries. My mom kept some of these, but I wish that I had kept my own.

But writing was seen as a hobby; something done for fun. I attended Wilfrid Laurier University and graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration. I’m certain that my essays in philosophy helped my overall grade-point average. Some friends questioned why I didn’t major in Philosophy or Psychology instead of Business!

Upon graduation, I worked many temporary jobs until I landed work as a Career Counsellor. Again, my writing skills helped with working on case notes for my clients.

After six years, I was laid off, moved, and started a new life. This included a new job – self-employment as a personal fitness trainer. I loved developing my advertising and marketing plans for the business and coming up with fun names for some of my workshops.

But still, writing was part of all my other jobs…not a job in itself. Not until I moved once again, left my business, my family and friends and went to Orillia, Ontario where I found God and found my true call in life. I remember the tear-filled afternoon in 2001 when the Holy Spirit impressed on my heart that I am a writer.

In 2003, I attended my first writer’s conference in Guelph, Ontario called God Uses Ink (now Write Canada). Stepping onto the beautiful grounds at Guelph Bible Conference Centre and meeting other writers like myself, I exclaimed,

“I am home.”

I’ve attended Canada’s largest conference for Christians who write every year since then.

TWG Write! Canada 2011

Guelph Bible Conference Centre grounds