Area Independents Unite!

Last night’s CIC SIG event, "Breaking Out of Solitary Confinement: Networking Tips for Freelancers, Work-at-Homers, and Other Professionals", was a hit. Forty-three area independent consultants and professionals that want to be independent turned out at NRECA in Arlington. The chapter provided a sumptuous spread of food from Whole Foods and chairs and tables were arranged in a large U shape to facilitate networking while providing a comfortable place to sit and eat.

The range of professions represented by the 43 people was impressive. Most people were writers but there were a significant number of artists, photographers, translators, and project managers. There was even a dance instructor and a goat farmer! Many people found out about the event through the local discussion list called DCPUBS and seemed to already know each other, at least virtually. Others walked into the event not having preregistered. Many of them found out about the event through the listing in Monday’s "Face Time" section in the Washington Post both online and in print.

Among the many pearls of wisdom that came from Kristen King was the advice to think of networking not as a way to get something from someone but to give someone something they want and that will solve a problem for them.

Gabe advised that you should not give out your business card to someone until you have begun to forge a relationship. Of course, if someone gives you their card first, it’s perfectly appropriate to reciprocate.

Mary Fletcher Jones, an event attendee, and I are collaborating to create a podcast of an interview with Gabe and Kristen. When it’s available, we’ll publicize it in this blog.

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I'm a technical communication consultant working primarily in the bioinformatics field and also designing and delivering training classes on 508 compliance for electronic documents. I have been involved with the STC Washington, DC - Baltimore chapter since 1994 and am an STC Fellow.