30 March 2015

How to survive a blog conference weekend

Blogging is a funny creature, and at one point or another temptation will hearken for spending a Saturday learning stuff and you may just find yourself sat behind a school desk in your spare time of your own free will. Don't believe me? It's totally true. Ploughing the fields of SEO strategy, photography tips, basic accountancy, a touch of history, social media workshops - all the blogging buzzwords (and occasionally a few of those too).

How to survive a blog conference weekend
 
But even after 3 years of being involved in the blogging community, introducing myself into a room of strangers makes me break out in a cold sweat. I've often called my better half 5 minutes before the start of a morning to squeal howIcan'tpossiblydothisbecauseIdon'tknowanyoneandwhyonearthdoIputmyselfthroughthis!?. Luckily he usually calms me down by telling that I'm an idiot, to go for an hour and see how I feel - much like a parent on their child's first day at school. Half an hour later I'm happily playing chatting away and get the 'told you so' text of support and vindication.

How to survive a blog conference weekend
Back walking through the school corridors...

Over the years I've made myself push through the barrier, and been helped by a few tips from friends when faced with a room of 150 smiling faces. In reality, I guess a lot of these apply to the professional world too (except possibly the snacks, play that one by air)

  • Don't sweat the fashion choices Wear an outfit you love and are are comfortable in, and for the record 80's power shoulders are not essential (unless that's your medium of self expression - if so, by all means). You'll be in a room full of equally shy social media mavens who are more probably more worried about dripping coffee down their own fronts.
  • Wear a statement piece A funky necklace, fascinating handbag or a legendary belt buckle - they make for wonderful ice-breakers.
  • Take it all with a pinch of salt Listen to the lectures bearing in mind that sometimes you may only take away a couple of points from two hours of presentations. Sometimes you'll take many many more, sometimes you'll take none. Sometimes the chance discussions with other bloggers will be wonderful...
How to survive a blog conference weekend
  • The breaks are often the best fun A chance to say hey to old friends and make new ones. Just put your hand out to shake and tell them your name!
  • Snacks are totally appropriate to take. We Bloggers like sharers *hint hint*
  • Know who you are, a bit You'll probably need a quick elevator pitch to describe your blog; to give people a quick flavour of your blog. So mine is usually a mumbled "The explorations of an expat in London; foodie adventures, travel, quirky finds and too much coffee.
  • You'll always learn something. Even it's just how to balance coffee, cupcakes, a smartphone, a handbag, timetable, trying to engage in witty conversation and laughing like a goofball all at the same time.
How to survive a blog conference weekend
A surprisingly apt fortune cookie on Saturday...
  • Business cards can sometimes be handy But aren't essential - if in doubt just add your new friend on Twitter.
  • Stalk people. Well, not actual stalking (people tend to not appreciate it when you turn up on their couch) but use the conference hashtag beforehand to see if someone you want to say 'hey' to is there. If ya can't find them, Tweet them a rendezvous point. Don't do what I did on Saturday and realise how many people I had missed... on the bus home *waves*
  • Stalk people #2 If you see someone standing alone feeling a bit awkward next to where you're standing awkwardly, moan about how awkward the situation is. BINGO, friend!
  • Take a pen & paper. So old school, so handy...
  • Afters. Don't be afraid to follow up the event with an email or Tweet to the people you've met.
If in doubt, grab a cuppa, take a seat, begin drafting a post or two while you wait for the next class and smile.

Now I just need to remember a few of these next time...

18 comments :

  1. I followed everyone's progress at Traverse, looked like a really useful event. I particularly liked the tweet for wine idea!

    Lots of love,

    Angie

    SilverSpoon London

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  2. I would love to go to a workshop, I had no idea about such things! Where do I sign up? X

    Www.hausofsarahrachel.com

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  3. It must have been so nerve wracking! But glad you managed to pull through.
    I always struggle with elevator pitches because i'm a natural born rambler - so maybe i should work on that! Thanks for the tips xx

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  4. I saving this for the one day I live somewhere where these things happen!

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  5. I can't wait for the day when I can actually attend a blogging event. I am sure I will be feeling so nervous at the beginning as well!

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  6. More bloggers' meet ups should involve a cat. Nothing is quite so scary when there's a cat involved!

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  7. Shikha (whywasteannualleave)30 March 2015 at 21:41

    We clearly weren't stalking each other enough then Emma given that we missed each other this weekend! I'm normally apprehensive about walking into big blogger events too, which is strange given I am rarely shy but each one I've been to has turned out to be fun - in fact, Saturday was so fun that it went on till 2am! I am definitely too old for it and still feeling tired :)

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  8. It was lovely seeing you at the weekend Emma. Such fun!

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  9. Gabrielle Trenbath31 March 2015 at 04:33

    Thanks for the tips :)


    www.blogsbygabrielle.blogspot.com

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  10. We need to stalk each other more (is that even possible? ;D)
    2am? Wow!!

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  11. I quite agree! The Foodie Blogger Connect Battersea venue came with the gorgeous Pluto keeping us all in line!

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  12. Iceland would be an amazing place to host a conference!

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  13. I am also a chronic rambler, one without a blog niche to boot!
    I hope they help!

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  14. There are a few in London: Ladies in Blogging do a few, Traverse, Foodie Blogger Connect, Blogstock in Sept...

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  15. Thanks hun, will look into them :)

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