Case and point: someone asked Meredith how they can get the most out of writing conferences. This was Meredith's reply:
"Ooh!! Conference question!!
"Get the most out of conferences by:
1. Researching beforehand. Know which editors and agents you want to meet and then go and *meet* them. Don't pitch. Just talk.
"2. In formal pitch sessions, BRING THE FOLLOWING for all editors/agents you'll be pitching:
-First 5 pages
"Why? Well, writing is not a spoken art form. Your query is more than likely tighter and stronger than your verbal pitch, no matter how hard you work on it. Have these materials ready in case your pitch bombs or you just want to ask the ed/agent to look at the query--can you say invaluable free advice?? Honestly, the ed/agent will probably be more comfortable reading the query than taking your pitch!! This is totally permissible in lieu of pitching verbally.
"As for the rest (synopsis, 5 pages) that's just in case they fall in love with your pitch/query and want to see more then and there. :)
"3. Stop talking. If you do choose to pitch verbally, say two sentences MAX and stop talking. The ed/agent will immediately ask you questions (OK, how old is so-and-so) that will give them the info they want, not what you think they want. The info they ask you for will give you insight into how an ed/agent reads and considers a pitch, which will improve your query.
"4. Be shrewd about the panels, etc you go to.
"5. Talk to the other writers!! I dare you to leave that conference with two new Beta Readers.
"6. Always, ALWAYS have a contact-info business-card-type thing with you."
Her next AskAgent splurge will be soon--check her blog and Twitter--she updates often.