Dragon*Con line. It’s hard to see here, but the attendees
enter the hotel near the white van at the bottom of the
photo. At the top, just under the trees, you can see the
line extends out of sight.

OK, it’s another story about my visit to Dragon*Con and the various networking concepts I uncovered there. For those who haven’t been following along, Dragon*Con is a four day science fiction convention held each year in downtown Atlanta over Labor Day weekend. It is almost universally a heck of a lot of fun. In fact, there’s only one significant dark spot in an otherwise fun-filled weekend.

The pre-registration line.

For those of us who signed up months in advance, there was a three to five hour wait to get our badges, depending on what time we got in line. According to the convention staff they tried some new things this year in hopes that they could alleviate these long waits, but some of the new measures just didn’t work.

My buddy Tim and I were talking about this the other day. One of the problems the organizers have is that they have no real way to test their potential solutions until next year. That means that they only have one chance per year to improve and that’s when everything is on the line.

So, how does this apply to networking?

We’ve talked about a lot of techniques you can use in your networking practice. One of the areas we’ve focused on, for example, is what techniques will help us succeed at a networking event. Of course, anyone who tries the new techniques will feel a little awkward at first and may not be entirely successful. Success and skill comes with practice.

Now imagine that you only attend a networking event once a quarter or even only once a year. Now you are trying out these new networking concepts when you also have a lot of pressure on you to deliver.

Do you think you’ll see a lot of success?

Part of becoming a networking professional is just lots and lots of practice. The more events you attend, the more one-to-ones you arrange, the more phone calls you make the better you will get and the more natural it will feel. So, to become a better networker, err on the side of too much networking rather than too little. It give you the chance to practice the skills without the added pressure of having to make your attendance pay off.

After all, nothing can drive away potential networking connections faster than the scent of desperation.