|Banner by Nina @ Nina Reads|
I tend to be shy when I first meet people, so I like to carry around a laminated card I got from my friend and former roommate S. I do not know who wrote it, but it was produced by the Business Honors Program at UT-Austin.
The front reads:
In 30-60 seconds, talk about your:
- Education and how you entered the field
- Skills, strengths, and accomplishments
- General job focus and possible future career plans
Making a Good Impression
- Use direct eye contact and a firm handshake when introducing yourself.
- Listen attentively, and acknowledge what you have heard.
- Show genuine interest.
- Find out what you have in common with the other person.
- Close the conversation.
- When appropriate, follow-up with a phone call, email, or card.
How? You should have a quick, minute or less introduction ready for you and your blog. What do you write about? Who is your audience? How big is your audience? What do you want to feature on your blog in the future?
Here's a simple version of what I usually say: "Hello, I'm [Real Name] and I write the blog In Bed With Books under the name Liviania. I review young adult books, although I sometimes cover other books that I love." I stop there if talking to another blogger. To a publishing professional, I add something like, "My audience is mostly twenty and thirty-year-old professional women. I have over a thousand subscribers through Google Friend Connect and FeedBurner and approximately 200 page views a day." After you introduce yourself, let them make their introduction.
It is extremely important to be honest. At the Texas Library Association conference in April, I spoke to many non-young adult publishers despite running a young adult blog. Why not? I am interested in books I never post about here and it's fun to talk to people about the books that get them excited. But because I was honest, I found books that were relevant to the blog that I would never have found on my own. Don't try to lie about who you are and what you do in order to appeal more to someone else. Chances are that who you really are could be exactly who they're looking for.
Just be cool. I like to carry the card around because it reminds me that almost everyone struggles with networking. It is awkward to forge a connection with someone in a couple of minutes. But it's easier if you're prepared, direct, and calm. (Also, I dress fancy because it makes me feel more confident.)