Just a little list I kinda wish someone could have stapled to my packing list last year….
Do get some business cards. No blog is too small to not need a business card because that blog and that card represent amazing YOU! If you’re still in the middle of the branding process or not sure what all one puts on a card, why not start with Your Name, Contact Info/Site address, and a bit about YOU (ie. “Writer, Laundress, and lover of pink shoes”). Consider your business card as YOUR card, not your blog’s card. After all, it’s you–not your blog–who’s walking around meeting people. Your blog is an extension of you, not the other way around (<–Tweet this!). If your blog has a great title and tagline, definitely slap it on there! (And I’ll be just a little bit jealous). I’m making my own cards this year from this awesome tutorial from Gretchen Louise.
Do put your face on your business card. This will help me remember you! Thank you.
Don’t Cling to Un-Realistic Expectations. Tragically, there are only so many days in one weekend; there will not be hours and hours of uninterrupted conversation available. The speakers and authors you’ve come to love and can’t wait to meet in person? Give them grace—they’ve got a lot of responsibilities and demands on their time. Realize that the beauty of a conference is to hear with our ears what we’ve only seen on a screen, or to exchange an IRL hug in place of an emoticon. The deepening of a relationship most often comes in the before or after of a conference.
Do get yourself a little notebook… and some tape to collect your business cards and keep track of conversations. Each time you exchange cards with someone, immediately tape their card into a new page of your book, and during or after your conversation, jot down a few notes you may want to remember about your new friend (ie. “She lives two hours from me!” or “Email re: design work”). I got this idea from Logan last year, and it was pretty much the best thing I took home from Allume (OK, and the awesome swag bag. Did I mention AWESOME?!)
Do Combat Uncertainty with a Plan. Familiarize yourself with the schedule and speakers and make a short list of your priorities at the conference. Is it to get as much instruction as possible? Is it to network? Decide what you most hope to glean from the conference so you have a guide in choosing sessions and what to do with free time. Are there a few individuals you’d really like to meet? Make arrangements now: send a message, exchange phone numbers, and decide on a meal or a session when you’ll try to sit together.
Just for Introverts:
(Note: I would never presume to speak to you dear ones without the input of my wisest, sweetest, and most introverted friend, Diane—I quote her almost word-for-word here!)
Do give yourself permission to take a break from the crowds. Look for windows in the schedule that would allow you to enjoy some quiet time in your room or one-on-one with a friend. Make a plan that helps you disengage from the flow and to recharge.
Do be willing to step out of your comfort zone and dive into the beauty that is 400 passionate woman gathering to grow and have fun together. Now is your chance to connect in person with the women and hearts you’ve learned to love in the quieter spaces of their blogs. Try sitting at a different table occasionally and not always sticking with your roomies–it’ll be worth it, I promise.
Just for Extroverts:
Don’t do what I did last year: I was so giddy to meet so many wonderful, new people, I exchanged business cards with over 80 women. There was no WAY I would remember which face belonged to which conversation, or ever have the opportunity to follow through with that many connections (even my handy notebook couldn’t keep up!). Slow down, girlfriend! And tap me on the shoulder if I look like I’ve forgotten this one, will you?
Do go deep rather than wide. Give yourself permission to get to know a few new friends a little deeper rather than feeling like you must work the crowd and shake everyone’s hands like a bloomin’ politician (again, I’m preachin’ to the choir here!). Take the time to listen to another’s heart, to pray, or even—gasp—be still.
For all of us:
Do Remember it’s Not All About You: look at the weekend as an opportunity to bless and serve others. There will be others at the conference more shy or overwhelmed than you. There will be hurts barely bandaged, joys asking to be celebrated, fears that need to encounter truth, and hearts that need an encouraging word. Extrovert or Introvert, Newbie or Veteran, we all need to be willing to put our own agenda aside and tune into ways we can serve the other beautiful women we will meet during the weekend.
- “No blog is too small to not need a business card because that blog and that card represent amazing YOU!” <–Click to Tweet
- “Great blog conference advice for extroverts, introverts, and everyone in between”<–Click to Tweet
- “Handy tip for organizing all those business cards you’ll collect at your next blogging conference!” <–Click to Tweet
Have you been to a blogging conference before? Any kind of conference? Will you share your favorite networking, preparation, packing, or getting-the-most-out-of-a-conference tip in the comments? I will love you for it. See you there!