Convention Idea: Go Local!

More on my ideas on helping cons appeal to progeeks and profans.  Previous articles are: here, here, and here.

In my musings, speculations, and ideas on ways to add more professional and career-building events to conventions, I've talked about guests that people can invite to conventions.  I want to talk about something that's often missed.

Local guests from local businesses.

A quick look online, in a phonebook, or at local universities is likely to yield a wealth of possible guests who are a short trip from your convention site – and who may be happy to come and help out.

The professors at your local college.  The game company you didn't know was a few miles away.  The art studio nearby.  The costume shop whose owner would love to speak on making money at cosplay.  They're all potential guests to speak on careers.

You may even find some of them are already attendees of the convention – or would like to be – and are more than ready to help.

The benefits of local guests are:

  • They're easier to get in.  Even if some of them are worth compensating for, you won't need to pay transportation feels, probably not even hotel fees.
  • They'll know the local market.  This means they benefit from any publicity and contacts even more – and they may provide excellent people for attendees to network with.
  • They may already be involved in some of the same communities your convention is at.
  • It helps benefit your local community more.
  • They'll be more likely to help out in the future.
  • It's basically a great way to make more local friends.

So before you worry that your career track either needs someone from across the country, ask who you have locally.  You may be surprised, you may save money, and you bring people closer together.

– Steven Savage