Monday, March 1, 2010

The Cardinal Sin of Writers’ Conferences

At a writers’ conference, I sat with one of my editor friends during lunch. Another conferee joined our table and proceeded to share her life story with the editor (completely ignoring everyone else at the table).

She droned non-stop in a loud voice for 45 minutes (I kid you not!). The editor listened politely, nodding occasionally.

At the end of her monologue, the conferee announced, “The Holy Spirit gave me the gift of gab.”


Writers’ conferences have unwritten rules of social etiquette. Here are five to engrave on your heart:
  1. Listen more than you speak.
  2. Ask questions that show you’re interested in others.
  3. When you’re chatting with others, observe their body language. If their eyes are flitting all over the room and they’re fidgeting, it’s time for you to stop talking.
  4. When you share a meal with others, give everyone an opportunity to speak before you chime in.
  5. Don’t use 100 words when 10 will do.
Conferees and conference faculty: what "rules" for conference etiquette would you add?

1 comment:

Chime in!