Promoting Professional Geekery #10: Present At A Convention

OK folks, you want to share your professional fan stories with people and inspire them.  So let's ask – why aren't you at a convention spewing wisdom in every direction like a water sprinkler of knowledge?

(And if your answer is "because I'm relaxing or I'm usually found intoxicated Saturday night dressed as Dean Venture" then nevermind).

But for the rest of you who don't mind a little work or not being involved in an animation-related scandal, go speak at a convention and share your career wisdom.

Look you've got a few years (or decades) under your belt doing geeky things for money legally.  You have a lot of experience and skills and interesting tales.  Use that experience before you forget it or become completely cynical!

Here's a few things to try:

  • Tell your success story, possibly along with other people with similar stories.
  • Tell your greatest failures, and talk with other people who've made terrific mistakes.  This is a great way to get attention and use a contrarian approach to teach about geeky careers.
  • Organize a specific panel or workshop around your given knowledge.
  • Try a freeform discussion about career options.
  • Do a roundtable of people on a given career subject.
  • If you're not good at speaking or frankly not that interesting, get your friends/co-workers to do panels.  Hey, you might have a future as an agent.

I'm sure you have many excuses not to do this, since it can be quite stressful, so let me address those:

  • You feel you have nothing to share.  If you've had a good career you can share that.  If you have a bad one you can be a warning.
  • You're afraid to speak in public.  That's not going away without trying to overcome it – so here's your chance.
  • You're not a good speaker.  Well, see the above.  Learn.  Or, heck, record something.
  • You have no conventions to go to.  OK, that's a problem, but maybe you can inspire people or take that trip you wanted.

Having spoken at conventions for years, having helped with them (heck, having written a book on career events), I want to emphasize this is one of the most fun methods to spread the fan-to-pro message.  It's social, it's entertaining, it's a growth experience, and it reaches people directly.

So, here's your assignment – what con in your area could you speak at in the next six months – and what are you going to do there?

Steven Savage