I created this set of comics to help break the ice when I attended my first SCBWI conference (or at least the first in a long time) in 2009, knowing that 99% of the people there wouldn't know me. I was WAY nervous.
I'm reposting the comics here in case they help anyone else. Feel free to repost individually or as a set anywhere online, as long as the goal is to help promote the SCBWI or to help kidlit writers and illustrators new to conferences.
My advice for anyone who feels nervous about attending for the first time, or is normally very shy and introverted and not great at meeting new people:
1. Be brave and make the first move. You'd be surprised at how many other attendees feel exactly the same way as you do. Introduce yourself to people you sit beside, stand in line with, notice standing alone.
2. TAKE BUSINESS CARDS. Yes, even if you aren't published yet. We're all going to meet a lot of people over the weekend, and taking away a business card from an encounter or introduction will help the people you meet remember you.
3. Have realistic expectations. Don't expect to be "discovered" at the conference.
4. In my experience, you're much more likely to meet new people if you're alone. If you're always chatting and hanging out with the same person or people, you're not as approachable. I'm not saying that you SHOULDN'T hang out with people you like, of course! Just keep in mind that as a group, you're probably not going to meet as many new people as someone who is by themselves.