Networking at the Wellness Expo
Focus on Following Career Choices
35-Day Author Blog Challenge- Day 4
Even though I couldn’t see and hear perfectly, I had a blast doing my author gig at the Wellness and Health Expo.
“You’ll never guess who I am,” joked a woman with a naughty smile. She reached into my goody bucket and extracted 3 different miniature candy bars. “Don’t tell my son,” she added, shaking a finger at me.
I had no idea who this woman was. But I wasn’t in the dark long. She told me. “I’m Mrs…” She dropped the name of a well-known local chocolate company in the city. Before I could respond, she dashed away.
A few minutes later, a gentleman called out to me, “You going to the opera?”
“Not likely, unless you’re inviting me!”
I found it easy to smile, and laugh with the public. This is what being an author feels like. It seemed I was a bit overdressed for a health expo. “It’s the Park Lane bling,” I told the friend who helped me set up. My hand went automatically to the shiny larger-than-I-usually-wore silver Solata (sun) necklace and more understated silver earrings.
“Judie, these people are a hoot!”
It was one of the many reasons I enjoyed the Health and Wellness Expo. As a new author, I was fortunate to be invited to local events to sell my book, Mobility Matters: Stepping Out in Faith. My mission was to bring awareness to Usher Syndrome, the leading cause of deaf blindness in the world.
I love to observe people and once the Expo began, I found a steady stream of mostly senior citizens migrating from table to table.
I discovered that they had two goals: find the free candy and sign up for the giveaways.
One lady had it down pat. She peeled off an address label and slapped it onto my form then jotted down her phone number. All those around her applauded her efficiency.
“I can’t take credit for it,” she murmured, basking in the warmth of their praise, “I saw someone do this last year.”
In spite of having a table full of books, some patrons didn’t understand my goal. “I don’t want to hear nothin’ about no hearing or vision loss. I got my own problems,” a woman grumbled, backing away from the table. “Where do ya live, anyway?”
When I told her, she glared.
“That’s too far for me to go to get hearing aids.” She grabbed a few chocolates and stalked off.
A short time later, a local politician came by and shook my hand. She’d known my dad and we’d exchanged a few words about his legacy. I loved the way she stood so tall and asked me about my book with genuine interest.
“I admire your spirit,” she said.
One thing I hated were the patrons who attempted to slip my books in their Expo bags and walk away. I caught a a few and reminded them they were for sale. But, with limited vision, I couldn’t keep track of what everyone did at my table. So, I took a few losses.
One incident puzzled me. A man pointed to what l thought was my business card. “A the fo sal?” This is how his voice sounded to me with my hearing loss. The books there? He repeated himself. What was he pointing to?
I ran my hands through my hair. “Judie, help me.”
In a moment, she cleared it all up.
“He wants to know if your business cards are for sale.” She turned back to the man. “No, sir, they’re free to take.”
I smiled. It wasn’t me this time.That kind of question would throw anyone off.
The Expo was well organized and the many display tables looked streamlined and professional. I loved the theme of “Health and Wellness,” because it lined up with my theme of maximizing use of residual vision and living life joyously.
Halfway through, a woman stopped by my table. She was an optician from the Sight Center and I had dealt with her in the past.
“Cool watch!”she said, sliding the face of my watch to the topside of my wrist.
I clasped my hands together and leaned forward. “It’s great to see you. How are things?”
She didn’t get all flustered when I said it was great to see her. “See” is an everyday term.
This beautiful lady was herself like bling–with a spirit that glittered in a dull, dry environment–she changed lives with her passion for people.
She wanted to give them hope. She had the connections to get people the right tools, even when finances held them back. Diane had brought tools of her trade to the Expo.
Later that evening at home, I carried a basket with the names and phone numbers to my giveaway down to my brother. He shook the basket and selected a paper. Out of 72 entrants, we had a lucky winner.
“You call,” I instructed, knowing he’d get a kick out of sharing the news.
He picked up the phone and delivered the exciting news. In a few minutes, I had an address in which to send my giveaway. “She was very happy,” he said hanging up. “Her friend didn’t sign up because he didn’t need a purse.”
I would say not.
Networking is the fun part of being an author – even when you can’t see who you’re talking to or can’t hear exactly what’s being said. Help is only a step away.
How much do you enjoy watching or interacting with others? Do you view being in a crowd a positive part of your job / career? When you immediate help, how do you find it?