I am my own worst enemy.
Aren’t we all?
I can be extremely shy. Not only with people I haven’t met yet, but also with people I really respect and don’t want to come off looking like a fool. That fear has saved me from time to time, but more often than not it has been a hindrance to achieving what I was really after. Letting great opportunities slip away.
In a Comic Convention setting this can be a real problem. So many people wanting to talk with the same people you want to it is so easy just to chicken out.
As professional animation writers, Shannon and I have been able to attend the Writers Guild of America gathering at ComicCon. Over the years we’ve gotten to know several people in the group, and with some it’s really easy to talk with. However even within that environment it can be difficult to talk with others beyond a few words as more and more people crowd the room. After a while we end up standing off to the side and I return to being my usual Wallflower self for the rest of the TWO HOURS as the event goes on.
There’s where the answer lies.
This year, as mentioned previously, Shannon and I were taking the train back and forth to ComicCon each day. This limited our schedule, but that actually turned out to be something good.
In order to attend the party this year, we had reserved tickets on a later train, but were required to be at the station at least an hour early. (Anyone who took the train will tell you just how long the lines were. You’d think they were waiting to get into Hall H.) Because of this we were only able to stay at the party for only the first half hour.
With only 30 minutes we watched the door as different people signed in. Anyone we knew, or wanted to talk to, we immediately said hi to and began to chat. We only got a few minutes with each person, but they were well-spent minutes.
In those thirty-minute we probably spoke with more people than we usually do in an entire two-hour evening. There was no time to become wallflowers.
What I learned from this night is this: don’t plan to stay at the party all night. Set yourself a limited amount of time and with that deadline talk with as many people as you can. Keep moving around, or find a good position near the entrance where people are forced to walk past you. Quickly say hi, make introductions and chat for a while and then let them get on to the food while you find someone else to talk to.
This may not be what works for you, but it will be how I will fight the Wallflower Wars from now on.
Yes, we did catch our train on time and even chatted with more people in line, but more of than next time.