Introverts Guide to Blogging Conferences

I promise this will be my last post on blogging conferences until the end of summer. Although I do “travel” to attend these conference and often get out to enjoy the sites and the food, Misadventures with Andi is about other types of travel!

There are a ton of conference guides out there and I wouldn’t dare to duplicate them, but I haven’t see one out there for introverts.  As a member of that “tribe” I can tell you that you can successfully attend a blogging conference, make connections and contacts while still keeping your sanity.

I must first slightly digress and say there is a difference in being introverted and shy. I am not shy. I just can only take so much of people and noise and stimuli before I need to take a break. Also, it is really hard to get me to go somewhere where there will be a lot of people and noise and stimuli. However, once I am there and engaged, I am not shy. That’s why most people don’t believe me when I say I am an introvert.

And as a “veteran” of ten blogging or social media conferences, I do have a few tips to share.

Ahead of the conference

  • Think about your blog. What is your elevator pitch or “what are you all about?” You are going to have to answer this question over and over. It would be best if you thought about it ahead of time.
  • Order blog cards. These are business cards for your blog. They have your url, your Twitter id, your email address, your Facebook page, etc. There is always an exchange of these cards in nearly every instance that you meet someone and it is better to have them than not. If you are shy, or in one of your “I need to check out moments” and the conversation doesn’t always go the way you wanted. There is always the opportunity to still convert someone to become a reader of your blog if they look up your blog post-conference.
  • Study the schedule/agenda. This will allow you to plan your outs. Decide what is important to you and what can be skipped if you are feeling like a break.
  • When planning what to wear to a blogging conference, think comfort.  That doesn’t mean shabby, but something you feel good in.
  • Plan some flare. Something that you can wear externally that can be a conversation starter. I have many, many pairs of glasses, but when I go to a conference I usually wear one of my funky red pairs at least one day. If not glasses, a fun pin, a hair-bow or ribbon, fun shoes….

During the conference

  • If you can help it, don’t hide behind your laptop, iPad or iPhone. Be present.
  • Take breaks.
  • Try to push yourself out of your comfort zone, but don’t go crazy, you will just exhaust yourself mentally and then feel bad.
  • Further to that, don’t judge yourself. You are already in an environment that is not second nature to yourself, give yourself a break!
  • Don’t forget to pass out your blog cards. Don’t just shove them at people. Ask others if they have one and if you can exchange.
  • Don’t get sucked into the “missing out syndrome.” You will not suffer a great and perilous loss if you don’t attend every single session, every single party, etc. Life will go on.
  • Quality versus Quantity. You don’t need to meet every single person in the room. But it would be good to have some real conversation with a handful of people. It will go a long way and you way meet your new BFF.

After the conference

  • Follow-up. Take all those blog cards you read and visit each one of them. Find a post to comment on and leave a comment not only about the post but that you were pleased to meet them.

Lastly, I would suggest trying to attend smaller, more focused conferences (SITS really is a great one, there Bloggy Boot Camps are small!). If you are an introvert, Blogher is going to be too overwhelming to start. Work up to it. I have bought Blogher tickets three years in a row and then sold them at the last minute, unable to face the large crowd. Now that I have attended a few more conferences, I am working up my nerve to try to make it at Blogher this year!

So that is my two cents as an introvert attending conferences.

How about you? Got any additional advice to offer?

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Comments

  1. This is an utterly fabulous guide (for introverts AND extroverts, honestly. Conferences are overwhelming!). I’m going to bookmark this to read the day before BlogHer this year!

  2. This is a good guide, thanks!! I’m a total introvert and I just bought a ticket to my first conference: Bloggy Boot Camp Boston. I’m so nervous!!

  3. @Eve, oh you will have such a great experience. And you will ADORE Tiffany!

  4. @Ginger, OMG just read your blog post today, we were separated at birth! Seriously, if you are going to Blogher I would love to meet you, then I won’t feel so intimidated ;-)

  5. I’m totally going to BlogHer–we should definitely meet!

  6. @Ginger, yay!

  7. I have yet to attend a blogger conference but they sound fun and I always like meeting fellow bloggers- so thanks for the tips!

  8. Oh! I would never have thought about getting blog cards. I really hope to attend one someday soon. It sounds wildly fun.

  9. @Jennie, I am working on getting one in London!

  10. @Danee, yes definitely!

  11. I am attending my very first bloggy conference in Boston this May too! While being super excited to meet some fellow people that ‘get’ blogging – I am super nervous still! This is a great post with tips on how to handle. Thanks for sharing! :)

  12. @Jacque, I am so glad I could help! What conference are you attending?

  13. I’m a non-shy introvert too. I go to conferences fairly regularly for work and manage just fine, but a blog conference just seems to much more social. The whole room-sharing thing totally freaks me out. I need my alone time at night.

    Great tips – thanks! Will keep in mind if I ever get to go to one.

  14. I’m a fairly new blogger (just over a year) and I think that this is the year for me to take off. I know that blog conferences are a big part of that and I am looking forward to attending at least one this year.

  15. Great list! As an introvert myself, I found Bloggy Boot Camp to be the perfect set up. Happy conferencing everyone!

  16. @MamaRobinJ, oh no….no room sharing for me! I hope you do get to one, they are great and very useful for your blog.

  17. @WaningWoman, it really does give you a little boost.

  18. @Amy, it was! And I enjoyed meeting you!

  19. I love reading about blogging tips and hope to attend one of the camps as soon as I’m able. In the meantime, is there a blogging book you would recommend?

    I like the card idea and there have been many times where I wish I had something to hand out. However……I am a bit perplexed about how open I want to be with those from the military (especially since that will be my main environment in the near future). I want followers, but I also want a certain level of privacy.

    As always, I love your blog.

  20. @HotPink, thanks, I have been checking you out too! My Dad was in the Army for 30 years, finished as a colonel, so I am an Army brat! I will send you some books to read, but there are some great blogs too, will those over as well.

  21. Thanks so much! This is really helpful as I prepare for SITS Boston!

  22. Thanks for this. I’m going to my first conference this summer—BlogHer—and I’m a little nervous. I’m shy but I can usually overcome that; my real issue is that I get overloaded easily! I think I have fairly reasonable expectations—I don’t expect to get invited to parties and meet every blogger in the place—but I do want to try to get out of my comfort zone and talk to people and have some fun. I didn’t even think about having cards made. I guess I’ll get on that!

  23. @Mo, well it will be my first Blogher too along with Ginger who commented below, maybe we can meet?

  24. I would love that! We’ll have to make that happen!

  25. What a great post! I don’t consider myself an introvert, but I will be attending BlogHer and it will be my first bloggy conference. I have attended other business conferences it the past, but am nervous about this one. Thank you for the tips!

  26. These are all very practical tips!

    I wrote a post about blog conferences from the perspective of an introvert- not tips, just a reminder: http://thingsicantsay-shell.blogspot.com/2011/01/pour-your-heart-out-leaving-others-out.html

    Ugh- I don’t usually leave links like this on someone else’s post, but I think you might actually be able to relate.

  27. @Laura, I see a meet-up in the works! Glad you liked the post!

  28. @Shell, thanks for leaving the url! I love it!

  29. This was very interesting, Andi. I am an introvert as are many bloggers and haven’t yet been able to overcome the resistance to go to a conference yet.

  30. @Alison, it is not easy, but I have found it rewarding.

  31. I was looking for the content here and there and got to visit your blog. I must say that I am in the hand of luck today or else getting such a wonderful writing to read wouldn’t have been achievable for me, at least. Truly thankful your writing.

  32. @SMS, thanks for the compliment!

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