What Tech to Bring (or not)
As far as tech goes, I’ve learned to just keep it simple. I always bring my business cards (I even have a special metal case that I keep in my pocket at all times). See my previous post on Headshots and Business Cards and why they are so important to bloggers.
Then I have my iPhone handy at all times for quick tweets and pictures. I like my Jackery portable charger for my own phone, but you would be a very popular person in the room if you had one of these 4-port wall chargers handy. Everyone is always looking to charge their laptops, tablets, and phones and wall plugs are always in short supply.
Me, I like paper for a blog conference, so I just grab paper and a good pen so I can furiously scribble notes all day long. I’m a lefty, so I grab one of these cool portfolios in red or some other splashy color. That way I have a good surface to write on and somewhere to store all the handouts and things. I can even pop an iPad in there.
I know if I bring a laptop or a tablet, I’ll just end up playing with it, so I just leave them at home. Some people try to post during a conference day, but it rarely works unless it’s super quick. They’ll provide a snazzy blog conference bag, but I prefer a handy rolling backpack like this one in zebra print. (I did say I was flashy!) This is exactly the one I take to work every day – minus the adorable companion.
It’s handy to have a place to keep all your notes, handouts, swag, breath mints, wallet, hotel key, etc. and still have your hands mostly free. Oh, and did I say swag? Yes, you will definitely get a lot of swag at most blog conferences – I definitely like that part. I toss in a thin drawstring bag just to carry my swag on the way home.
Time to Mingle and Meet
A word about how to meet people. Meeting new people is the best part of a conference, but I think it’s pretty hard if you are shy. I’m not shy at all, so I meet tons of people (and forget all their names usually!). But the best way to make lasting friends at conferences is to jump into the roommate situation.
I generally book a large room and then put the word out for roommates. Many times, I end up with several roommates that I’ve never even met before, but I always end up being great friends with them by the end of the conference. I still keep in touch with many of my roommates from previous conferences.
Mealtimes too, are a great time to meet new people. Blog conferences create a sense of camaraderie, so no one is going to mind if you ask nicely to sit with them at a meal and hop into a conversation. I’ve met a ton of interesting people that way. Spread your business cards around, and get to know a variety of people for the best experience. Be excited, but don’t be stressed and anxious about meeting so many new people. I guarantee you’ll have a better time that way.
Bring a GREAT Attitude
I think a great attitude is a terribly important thing to bring along. One of my early blog conferences, I stepped in a mud puddle clear up to my ankle right on the way into the hotel. Nasty, thick, sticky mud.
For many women, that would have been cause for tears and maybe even leaving the conference. Not me, I just wrestled the shoe out of the mud (not an easy task balanced on one foot), limped into the restroom, grabbed handfuls of paper towels and cleaned it up as best I could. Then I went on with my day.
Stuff is going to go wrong – laugh it off and make the best of it, and people will think you are a real trouper. You are there to have a good time and learn good stuff, so don’t let a snooty roommate, or a lost bag, or a broken heel ruin your day. Work around it and move on.
Above all, be kind to the organizers. It’s a stressful job and a TON of work to put together a blog conference. They usually don’t make much money out of it, and most of the stuff they hear is gripes of all kinds. Smile, and hug them. Be grateful that they cared enough to put this whole conference together because they care about you and want you to be successful. Be the “No-drama mama!” and they will LOVE you for it.
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