I remember the days when book signings were quite simple. Book signings was located at book stores, and the most you had to do was purchase a book, and wait on a long line for your turn to meet the author. Nowadays, book signings are more like parties located at lounges with bars that sell 12 dollar drinks. At the “Don’t Waste Your Pretty” book signing people mingled, socialized and even did “cutie runs.” A woman was bold enough to do her “cutie run” during the Q&A’s section hosted by Aliya S. King, a writer who recently became entertainment editor of EBONY magazine. The crowd laughed as the woman asked if there were any available men. Lucas asked all the single men to raise their hands, but reminded the gentlemen that cameras was rolling. Afterwards, people lined up with their books and cameras ready to have a few moments with Lucas. Book signings have changed a lot and they’re definitely more fun. However, even when having fun I am always looking for ways to elevate my game when it comes to building my network. Previously, I shared “In Her Shoes” Event – 5 Steps in Learning to Connect” with you, I have 5 new tips after attending #DWYPNYC.
( 1 ) RSVP, RSVP, R-S-V-P! This is self-explanatory. However, it’s more important than you may think. The room in these establishments often times are limited and so you are required to RSVP. No reservations means you run the risk of not being there, and if you’re not there you can’t connect.
( 2 ) Be approachable. I went to the book signing alone. While waiting on the line to get in, I noticed three ladies who came together taking pictures and joking around. I did not want to interfere with their BFF moment. However, I stayed approachable. Not long after another woman stood on the line. She was alone, so I decided to talk to her, we were strangers, but we had one thing in common, we were there to support Lucas new book. I quickly realized that being approachable is important as she gave me one word answers. I eventually left her alone. When we got inside, to my surprise the same lady walked up to me and asked if I knew what to do next. I politely told her no, because I really didn’t know. Then I walked away, because at that point I decided I would rather figure it out on my own. Whether you’re at a function for business or pleasure, it’s important to always be ready to connect.
( 3 ) A thoughtful gesture goes a long way. I eventually connected with Julian Addo. She actually helped me get into the function (that’s for another story), lets just say I didn’t RSVP early enough. However, when they said that my name was not on the list, she quickly invited me as her plus one. I was grateful, and I bought her a drink, to say thank you. Throughout the night we continued to look out for each other. She introduced me to Zoé Zeigler from Curlz And The City, and I was there to take a picture of her and Lucas after she realized she had no more space on her smart phone. Once connected, make the connection work with a nice gesture or two.
( 4 ) Make a selfie connection. I learned a lot from Addo that night. She goes to events often enough to make valuable connections and I noticed how she worked the room talking with people she knew and some she didn’t. She approached Mica Hughes from Bravo’s reality show “Blood Sweats & Heels,” and requested a selfie. Later she told me that you never want to overwhelm celebrities with questions or taking too many pictures. A simple selfie will suffice. If they notice it on your social media, it may spark their interest in who you are and what you do.
( 5 ) Introduce yourself. If you’re going to events for the purpose of making contacts, eventually you will start to see familiar faces. Just as you recognized them, they may recognize you too. Introduce yourself if you want to build a connection. I have to admit, I am getting shy as I get older and I did not approach Renae Bluitt from In Her Shoes, who was in attendance that night. However, the lesson learned is that you can’t connect if you’re not willing to make the connection.
So there you have it, five new ways to connect when networking, inspired by “Don’t Waste Your Pretty” book signing event. The next time you’re at an event don’t forget you should be approachable, do not shy away from making the first move, and keep the connection strong with thoughtful gestures and selfies.