Last month I posted about How to Mingle at Publishing Events at Blue Rose Girls. I was particularly interested in suggestion 2, regarding goals for an event. As a general rule, mine is to get to these things on time and then live through them, because, you know, I believe in achievable goals. But the writer at Blue Rose suggested goals regarding meeting people. "Maybe you're shy: make your goal to introduce yourself to at least one stranger. Maybe your goal is to get at least two business cards, and/or give your card to at least three people."
Well, I was discussing this whole thing at my professional facebook page with someone who will be attending Overcoming Challenges: A Program for Writers and Illustrators at the Eric Carle Museum this Saturday. As will I. I suggested we should run a little competition to see who could introduce herself to the most new people. My facebook acquaintance was not all that taken with this idea, though she will be in a position to totally clean my clock in such a competition.
I, however, have decided to run a little experiment and write about it here. I am going to introduce myself to as many strangers as I can over the course of the day. We've all heard about putting ourselves forward and meeting others when in new situations, right? But, seriously, how well does that actually work? Do people really like being approached by strangers? Just what will be the response as I burn my way across the Eric Carle auditorium and around the cafeteria introducing myself to one person after another...and keeping track of numbers in my little notebook?
Maybe I should bring a camera.
Keep in mind, too, that over the last few years I've become a compulsive handshaker. It's a martial arts thing. I never did it before I started training. When I was growing up, my Franco-American aunts were big kissers, but I just can't recall seeing much handshaking going on in my working class New England world. As an adult, I thought it was a guy thing and was kind of freaked out when I saw my little boys doing it. But in the dojang, one is always shaking hands with and bowing to one's training partners, and it was the first change I saw in myself after I started training. I don't think I bow often, but I do shake hands.
So I'll be at the Eric Carle on Saturday, shaking hands and taking notes, and seeing what kind of profound meaning that brings to my life. And then I'll tell you all about it...the professional networking...the professional humiliation...the use of hand sanitizer...the whole thing.