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?