4 Ways to Connect at Conferences

connect at conferences4 Ways to Connect at Conferences


I remember my very first conference. It was a writer’s conference in Northern California, and I’d gone with a friend. My dream was to be a novelist, and the very first lunch I sat next to an editor. My knees started shaking. My heart started pounding. I couldn’t swallow a bite. I could barely answer a questions. {So much for making a good impression!}

In 2013, I attended the Allume conference for the first time as a speaker. I knew a few other people, but 99.9% of the other attendees were new to me. I had a blog, but my main focus at the time had been book writing. Yet after penning thirty-three published books, I felt God calling me to be more intentional about my online outreach. I went to learn . . . and to connect.

1) Start with an introduction.

Meeting people at conferences is easier than you think. Even if you are shy, there are natural places to connect with people, such as in line for registration, sitting in workshops, or at meals. Every great friendship starts with an introduction. “Hi, I’m Tricia. What’s your name?”

2) Listen first.

When I go to conference my goal is not to tell everyone all about me. Instead, I like to hear what others are up to. A few questions I like to ask:

What do you like to write about?
Tell me about your blog.
How’s your family at home surviving?

These are simple questions, but the answers help you get to know a person. The answers can highlight simpler interests. And you’ll never know where those relationships will lead!

From one conference, I met Courtney and Angela {great women!} from GoodMorningGirls.org, and later I offered to support their amazing ministry in any way I could. I was blessed to be able to write parenting blogs for them when my book Lead Your Family Like Jesus came out. Through that friendship, I connected with thousands of God-seeking women. “Tell me about yourself” goes a long way.

3) Pray for divine appointments.

It’s only natural to want to connect with the “important people” at conferences—those with well-known blogs, book authors, publishers, or others who can help you. The thing is, everyone wants to connect with those people, and it’s easy for them to get overwhelmed! (As a veteran speaker, I know.)

Instead, pray for divine appointments. Ask God to connect you with others for your mutual benefit. Many times it is the person sitting next to you in that workshop . . . not the speaker on the stage. God knows how to connect hearts for the benefit of His kingdom!

4) Build on relationships through prayer.

In 1994, at my very first writer’s conference, I met some sweet women. Most of us were new to writing and unpublished. When I got home I felt God asking me to coordinate a way for us to form an email prayer group. For years and years and years those women would email their prayer requests to me, and I’d compile them and send them back out. (This was long before Facebook private pages or Yahoo groups!) We prayed through marriages, births, deaths, divorces, book contracts, publishing disappointments, and everything else you can think of. We’re still praying almost twenty years later! Most of us are multi-published authors now, and our journey has been enriched because of prayer. Prayer changes things . . .  especially women’s hearts.

How about you? How do you like to connect at conferences? What tips will you keep in mind at the next conference you attend?

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  1. I felt like a fake the first one I went to. I felt like I was pretending I thought I could even do this. I still don’t know what I am doing, but I have learned so much at each one!

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