3 Days Remaining
It’s been four years since that fateful Ayacon where Tim and I first met and this bizarre experience, this weird GeekOut journey that has changed me for the “better”. Last year I hosted a panel on how to build confidence at Amecon, and one of the best pieces of advice I had to offer was to simply go to places where like minded people are and introduce yourself, because I can personally attest to the fact that it works. After so many conventions in a fairly short space of time it has become less about meeting new people, and more about catching up with those people who I see nowhere else.
Kita and it’s contemporaries are well aware that they are a social engine, a driving force behind many people’s interpersonal experiences that brings them out of their comfort zone and immerses them in a melting pot of ideas and attitudes on a platform of common ground… they may not have thought it in those words but I’m sure they’d probably say “Yeah, that sounds about right.” They put effort into making sure that people who are nervous have the best experience possible by ensuring a convention that is enjoyable, accessible and most importantly, safe.
Something popped up on the Kitacon Official Social Group (and shortly thereafter the official page) courtesy of chairman Phil Hutchinson that can go some way to help break the ice:
The “I’m new” badge will be available at a meet and greet for new people shortly after the opening ceremony, and the “Dance” badges will be available on the door to the ball. Sadly my request for “Will Talk To Anyone” badges was declined on the assumption that I’d have done that anyway, how very presumptuous! How terribly accurate. Let this be a warning to you, I am liable to engage in excesses of social interaction.
So what advice is best for people new to conventions?
We don’t know you. Really think about it. We don’t have a clue about all the things that are making you nervous, all we see is someone who likes the same things as we do, which means you’re welcome to join us in a conversation or play a game. You can leave your fears behind, and greet us as a fresh start.
Join in. It sounds daft, because you’re already there, but if you’re at a panel that’s asking for volunteers then go for it. If there’s a board game you’re interested in playing, ask. Ask cosplayers for pictures, trust me, they’ll love you for it. Get up and dance if you feel so inclined… I don’t, but that’s who I am.
Strike out alone. You came with friends, that’s a good thing because they’ll look after you when you need it, just make sure you don’t spend the whole weekend trailing after them. If there’s a panel that you want to see but they’re going to something else, do your thing and meet up later. Or if you’re really not into the party but they want to stay, why not come chill in the games rooms?
Come back next year. During the closing ceremonies there’s almost always an announcement for other conventions on the scene, and usually that’ll include the next big summer con. Or get chatting with the regulars, there’s always more conventions because the demand is enormous.
You’ll get back whatever you put into a convention and so much more. No matter how terrified you may be, if you’re new to the game or old hat, come and say hi to us.
Don’t Forget the DMing 101 panel at 20:00 Saturday in Chancellors 2 hosted by yours truly. I’ll be dishing out advice for those who have never been a DM, GM, Story Teller, Keeper or any other form of role-play master, but as always there’ll be something for those who are longer in the tooth, and will doubtless degrade into hilarious anecdote swapping long into the night.
See you at Kitacon.