In Part One we discussed how a travel writer can network and some of the networking options available. Here we’ll review the positives and negatives of networking and improving your networking skills. Hang in there because as a travel writer you’ll connect with other travel writers, editors, publishers and general writers. Networking will pay off in more ways than one!
Some people make a big deal out of networking. The major obstacle a travel writer may have with networking is if he or she is uncomfortable speaking with strangers. If you’re very shy, or frightened of public speaking, you may have difficulty with networking. If meeting people face to face is hard for you, you may want to do most of your networking online, but it’s important to overcome your fears and get out there – you’ll be missing many opportunities by not attending local events and meeting people. Come up with a few questions that you can ask anyone, because most people love to talk about themselves, and the more you get out there, the easier it will get. Remember, everyone at these networking events is there for the same reason you are, and some of them may be just as uncomfortable. Try to gravitate to those people who seem awkwardly out of place, and make it your goal to help them feel more comfortable – before you know it you’ll be a pro at networking!
The Positives of Networking
- You can meet other travel writers.
- It’s an opportunity to market you and your skills.
- You could find a travel writing gig.
- You can make new friends — who knows, you may even travel with these people.
- It’s an opportunity to network with editors, and possibly publishers.
The Negatives of Networking
- Speaking to people you don’t know may make you nervous
- It may take you some time before you find networking groups that work for you
- If you network online through social media, it can take up a lot of your time
- Too many networking groups can be overwhelming
- You must create or pay someone to create business cards for you
- Some groups can cost money to belong to
Don’t let the “negatives” of networking scare you. It does take time, but it’s time well spent. And over time you’ll learn what works for you, but the key is to be open to all networking opportunities. Whatever you invest in time or money can payoff handsomely when you find a great writing job or free trip though a new contact!
How to improve your networking skills
- Take public speaking courses to enhance your speaking skills.
- Practice “small talk” with family or friends so you’re comfortable.
- Practice telling people what you do and a little about yourself so that it sounds comfortable and succinct. If they want to know more, they’ll ask.
- If you’re nervous, attend your first networking event with a friend.
- Be sure to thank the host(s), and follow up with anyone you meet when it’s appropriate.
- Be sure to swap business cards with as many people as possible.
- Join Facebook and find a couple of online groups to join – this is a great way to find out about writers’ groups in your area.
Hopefully you’ll get out there and begin to network. As a travel writer, you can never have too many contacts. It’s great to meet new people and share information. Good luck with networking and travel writing!
What types of networking works for you?