There is much to learn from traveling to a place to work and network. For my last post on CHA I wanted to share not some of my observations, but some of the things I learned from attending for the third year.
1. Start off with breakfast. While this should be a no-brainer, I have to admit I am one to rarely eat breakfast. I never manage to skip coffee though : ). Better yet: have breakfast with friends. I met up with Debi (http://www.debisdesigndiary.blogspot.com/) at Paulette's house (http://www.summerlandcottagestudio.blogspot.com/) for a lovely meal prior to the first day of the convention. We discussed work, our personal lives, and accomplished a lot of idea swapping and networking before even walking the convention floor. Any time you can get together with colleagues and mentors outside of a business (especially over food) you can be even more productive.
2. Get to know your surroundings. CHA usually takes place in Anaheim (which I prefer). But this year it was in L.A. While it is a long and painful drive, it offered new sights to see, new corners to take in, a new culture to absorb, and soemthing to talk about with fellow attendees. I discussed basketball games at the Staples Center over a lunch meeting and got out to explore L.A. Live in my spare time to clear my head. And the statue of the Great One? I had to get a picture of Wayne Gretzky because my dad loves him and the sport of hockey. It reminded me that we can all strive for greatness on even the most small (and seemingly mundane) of scales. The true art of conventioning is the aspirations formed.
3. Have fun. I loved these fun displays of feathers, boas, masks, and yarn. Although this is business, we needn't all take it so seriously all the time. We have to break things up, keep people interested, keep people entertained, happy, and wanting more and more.
4. Say Thank You. My mum always told me to say this, and it has never been more necessary than at a convention. By thanking those who contribute to your success in person, you are making yourself, your employer, (and your parents) look good. I ran into one of my favorite people who was high on my list of thank-yous, Chery Waters (www.theluckythirteen.blogspot.com). Cheryl's contribution to the current Altered Couture (which we are holding up) is a must-read (www.stampington.com/alteredcouture). I also want to say a thank you here to the amazing June Beach (www.beachhausdesigns.com) for allowing me to wear her necklace that I (and several convention-goers) adore.
5. Reconnect. Besides "thank you", sometimes the best thing to say is "hi" at a convention. Whether introducing yourself or getting re-acquainted, it's good to see familiar and friendly faces, and acknowledge them. I stole this pic from J (www.jennydoh.typepad.com) but hopefully she won't mind since we enjoyed reconnecting. I just want to say another Thank You to Trish (www.bejewelledbespoke.blogspot.com). I reconnected with one of my favorite pieces of jewelry, her necklace (featured here, www.stampington.com/html/jewelry_affaire_spring10.html). Looking stylish, is after all, the art behind the convention. I love wearing things that our artists have made to show off to possible contributors and advertisers that our magazines possess the BEST possible work.