Blogging Conferences: The good, the bad, and the “mean girls”. Everyone has a different perspective… because everyone, and their expectations are different. Kind of like life, and if you’re not careful, these conferences can cause scary High School flash backs.
I’ve been to a couple of conferences now and learned a few things…
1.) You get out what you put in.
Like pretty much everything else in life. I really shouldn’t need to say more, but I’m going to anyways. If you want to learn and grow at a conference, pay attention. Put down the cell phone, ignore the crazies on twitter and focus. Take notes! Now there is a novel idea.
2.) “Mean Girls”
A touchy subject. Most of us probably dealt with something similar in high school and we start having big-hair-shoulder-pad-year-book-photo flashbacks. But here’s the thing. Those girls that you think are “mean” are probably just as nervous as you are. Blogging conferences kind of force us to confront our insecurities head on. In the event that they truly are “mean girls”, let’s be adults and walk away. No need to bitch for hours, start twitter wars, or publicly call them on stuff. Put your big girl panties on and take the high road. Believe me you’ll enjoy the conference a whole lot more.
3.) Conferences will be as clique-y as you let them be.
Sure, we all have people we prefer to be around. It’s easy to stick with them and play it safe. Nothing wrong with that… but if you play it safe and hang with the same people all the time, don’t rant and rave about cliques at a conference. Cause you were one. This kind of relates back to number 2 and facing our insecurities. Nobody wants to stand in the middle of a crowd and feel all alone. But I can pretty much guarantee that you’re not the only one feeling strange and awkward. So reach out, say hi and make a friend. Before you know it you’ll have a new group of awesome people who will support you. Now in the event that someone forgot that being bitchy is un-cool, and they ignore you or whatever, shake it off. Tell yourself it’s not you, its them *obviously* and they just missed out on the most awesome connection they would have ever had in their life!
4.) Curb your expectations.
Nothing in life is perfect. And if I shocked you with that statement, we need to have a whole other conversation. Check out the conference thoroughly before committing. I dare say that if I had done a little more research into the last conference I attended, things may have turned out differently. I would have actually known what I was going to experience. Instead I got caught up in the excitement of seeing some of my favorite people. Nothing wrong with that of course, but I had expectations that had no basis in reality. *face palm*
5.) Connections have value.
The most valuable thing you can gain at a conference is connections. Information is readily available if you want it… just use a little thing we like to call “the google”, you can find what ever you need. Connections on the other hand take a little work. You might have to step outside of your comfort zone, or you might have to walk up to a stranger and start a conversation, but its worth it! That connection might be the only thing of value you walk away with, so make it a good one!
6.) Fashion Icons
Lets be realistic shall we? We’re not all fashion icons. Heck most us aren’t even fashion bloggers. I’m doing good to wear something other than yoga pants on an average day… and I don’t even have kids! So while planning your outfits and coordinating accessories for a conference is fun, its not mandatory. BE COMFORTABLE. You can look good with out wearing the newest trend or must have color. Confidence is far more attractive than mint skinny jeggings. And I can say that… cause I wore mint skinny jeggings.
7.) Follow Up.
You’re gonna be swapping business cards like candy! Make sure they have all the right information and truly represent you and your brand. Every time you get a new business card, take a moment and jot down a few words on the card that describe the person you connected with. You want to be able to remember everything you learned about them when you look at the card and write that follow up email! And do email them! Following them on twitter or facebook isn’t going to be enough to build upon your connection.
That blogging conference you want to go to could be the most amazing experience of your life, if you let it be! So do your research, network before hand and plan on having a good time!