Networking Tips for Blogging Conferences: Every summer I attend several blogging conferences including the annual BritMums Live blogging conference in London, for a weekend of networking, blogging, learning new tricks and having some fun.
I go to a few blogging conferences per year and have done for the past 6 years, so I’ve had lots of practise of walking into a room of strangers and saying “Hi!” For 5 years before that, I was a regular at business networking events for small business owners, and I can honestly say that whether you are dealing with bloggers or business suits, the motions are exactly the same, and people are still people!
If you are nervous about attending a blogging conference or event, there’s no point in me saying “Don’t be!” So instead, let me share some techniques that will help you get through it, present yourself well and maybe even enjoy yourself!
1. Be open. What I mean by that is make the choice in your head as you walk in, to leave any brick walls at the door – where they belong! When you act guarded or a little defensive, it immediately puts others into that state too, without them realising it. Then it is harder to get the conversation flowing and to make friends. We can all be a little shy or insecure at times and in these circumstances, your smile is your best asset. Put a smile on and watch how many people smile back. Things can start from there.
2. Have a few conversation starters in your mind. Questions like “So what is your blog name?”, “What do you blog about?” and even “Nice dress – where did you get it?” are all guaranteed to start a friendly chat. It’s getting things going that it often the hardest – don’t forget you are with fellow bloggers. Typically as a group, we never shut up!
3. Be organised. There will be a lot going on, people coming and going and a lot to pack in to a short timeframe, so help yourself out by planning a few things in advance. Firstly, decide which workshops and talks you want to be at so you know where to be and when. Also, take along some business cards so that you can exchange them with the people you meet. What better way to remember everyone and have them remember you than giving them a way to contact you after the event. Lastly, carry a bag that has pockets so you know where to store your business cards and have a place to put the cards you receive. It is also a handy place to store your notepad or tablet and the various freebies you will probably collect from the exhibitor stands!
4. Get comfortable. Physically and mentally. Dress in clothes and shoes that you are pleased to wear and allow you to move freely. Pained expressions on your face don’t make for a welcoming atmosphere! Getting mentally comfortable is all about feeling confident. In this case, the expression ‘fake it till you make it’ is true. Try it and see for yourself. AFter a while you forget that you are faking it and you just ‘are’.
5. Remember- we are all in it together! Everyone gets nervous, we all put our foot in our mouths from time to time, we have all spilt our drink down our tops, we’ve all forgotten someone’s name, we’ve all got lost and entered a room late, it happens. Just go with it and don’t let a slip up ruin your experience. What’s the worst that can happen? We are all there to meet each other, talk to brands, network, learn new skills, improve our blogs and also get a bit of ‘me time’! Enjoy your weekend ‘off’ from the rest of your life and be present with us in the moment. When you are reading everyones posts after the event you’ll be able to relive the fun all over again… from the safety of your comfy chair!
I’m looking forward to the event and meeting some new faces as well as catching up with old friends. Remember – a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet! See you there! Do you have any additional tips for having a successful conference? Let me know in the comments!