I am good at working a room if I'm in charge of the event and have responsibility for making sure everyone is comfortable. For instance, I successfully ran a funeral luncheon last year as well as a wedding rehearsal dinner. Perhaps people didn't have as good a time at the rehearsal dinner as I thought they did, and maybe people were inappropriately relaxed at the funeral luncheon, but I went home satisfied after both.
I am nowhere near as good a guest, or perhaps I should say an "attendee," as I am a host. After the last event I attended, for instance, a very dear, kind acquaintance e-mailed me to say I hadn't looked well and asked if I was alright. I was once at an awards ceremony and introduced to the editor of a city newspaper by one of her co-workers. Ever hear the expression "cut dead?" I have never been blown off so completely by anyone in my entire life. And I was one of the freaking nominees! Well, guess what? That editor got fired! Her entire section of the newspaper is gone! So there!
Let's see, where was I? Oh, yes, given my said track record as a professional hand-shaker/backslapper, I thought I'd better read How to Mingle at Publishing Events at Blue Rose Girls. I enjoyed it.
I particularly liked Suggestion 2, "Have a goal/agenda for the event." I say, set the goal high. Plan to speak to ten or twelve people. Plan to introduce yourself to M.T. Anderson or Jane Yolen. Or if they're both there, plan to introduce yourself to both of them. At the same time. While they're at dinner.
I also liked Suggestion 5, "Have some conversation topics prepared." Oh, my gosh. Let's see..."What do you think the ratio of men to women is here?" "How do you think the keynote speaker got this gig? Because, you know, her last book sucked. Sure, it sucked in that formulaic way that awards committees love, but sucking is sucking, is it not?" "You know what I'd like to see? I'd like to see Sarah Palin write a picture book. No? What about Bristol? Her kid could be the main character. Or maybe someone could do a chapter book--a whole series--about that little Palin, Piper, who everyone's so crazy about."
I'm registered for a NESCBWI event in March. And now I'm ready.
I found the Blue Rose Girls post through Cynsations.