This weekend, thousands of fans of all sorts traveled to California to attend San Diego Comic-Con International. Artists, authors, experts and actors were there, ready to answer questions, announce upcoming projects, meet fans and sign autographs. But Comic-Con is so much more than just a fun convention for fans – it can help your career, too.
Comic-Con has a unique atmosphere that, when you step back and take it all in, can really teach you a lot about life and business. Here are 10 career lessons you can take away from Comic-Con.
1. Be prepared
Comic-Con attendees often spend months and months designing and creating their cosplay costumes to make sure everything is just right come the big day. You may not be making intricate costumes in your career, but the lesson still stands: preparation is important. Whether you're going to a job interview, leading an important business meeting, or about to make a big sales pitch, it's important to be adequately prepared. Do your research, practice your presentation, know what you're talking about, and you might just impress everyone.
2. Show up early
Showing up late to the panels you want to attend at Comic-Con is a surefire way to you miss out, and the same goes for your career. Always aim to be a few minutes early, especially for interviews of any kind. Not arriving on time is one of the best ways to lose out on a career opportunity.
3. Be your best self
Comic-Con is an opportunity for many fans to show off parts of themselves they ordinarily wouldn't, be it through cosplay or simply embracing and sharing what they're interested in. The lesson here is to be yourself, and be confident about it. In your career, knowing what you like and what you want and having the confidence to show others what you have to offer can get you ahead.
4. Creativity is key
That said, the way to stand out in a sea of cosplaying Comic-Con attendees is to be creative, and that goes for the workplace, too. Just like cosplayers find ways to embody their favorite characters, you should find ways to put your own spin on your work. Find an untapped angle to a project or a unique and creative solution to a problem, and you're sure to be noticed. [Why Creativity Matters Most for Entrepreneurs ]
5. Show your enthusiasm
At events like Comic-Con, everyone is excited and passionate about what's going on around them. Be that person in the workplace, too, and you'll earn a lot of respect from your managers and co-workers. If you come into the office with a negative attitude, you'll bring everyone down. Being positive, on the other hand, can create a more welcoming and productive work environment. It's all about having the right attitude.
There are always a lot of things to do and see at Comic-Con, and it can be overwhelming. When you're attending huge events like that, it's important to prioritize and ask yourself what you absolutely have to see, what you don't mind missing out on, and everything in between. The same goes for your work – when you're overwhelmed with tasks, take a step back and plan out what you need to get done immediately, what comes next, and what can wait until tomorrow.
7. Take risks
Having a game plan is important, but one of the best parts of Comic-Con is the opportunity to take risks. Those risks can be anything from wearing an attention-grabbing costume to introducing yourself to a celebrity you admire. In business, those risks are very different, but the lesson still stands. Have the confidence to do something risky, like applying for a job that's a little out of your league, taking on a challenging project or even asking for a promotion.
8. Market yourself
Comic-Con isn't just about people coming together to appreciate their shared interests. It's about marketing, and a lot of it. At Comic-Con, movie trailers and TV teasers are released and vendors have booths everywhere. What Comic-Con does right, however, is that you don't see it as a marketing ploy – you see it as an amazing event, and that's exactly how job applicants and employees should market themselves. Promote your skills and talents, but find balance and be genuine as well.
9. Network, network, network
A huge part of Comic-Con is meeting new people with similar interests, and that's exactly what you should be doing as a professional, too. Networking is important, so take advantage of work events and situations where you can meet like-minded people and grow your list of business contacts. Just make sure you're making quality connections and not just passing out business cards.
10. Put judgment aside
The best part about Comic-Con is that nobody is judging anyone else. It doesn't matter if you come in costume or not, what fandom you're part of, or what you're there to see, because everyone is just there to have fun and enjoy the experience. This is important to remember when dealing with co-workers, too. No matter where you work, you will meet people who you may not like or get along with. Put your judgment about them aside and find a way to enjoy your office time anyway, or your personal issues will get in the way of your work.
Originally published on Business News Daily.