Whoa! I’m finally coming down from my post-blog conference high, and sitting down to write! I attended Blogger Bash for the second year, and it was fantastic! I had a chance to attend Sweet Suite, the biggest night of play, I saw Blue Man Group at the Astor Theater, I attended informative panels with experts, speed dating with brands, and an incredibly awesome carnival (There was a girl pouring champagne while hanging upside down from a chandelier, y’all!!) Oh, and of course, I got to spend time with some of my favorite friends from all over the country! It was a blast!
While at Blogger Bash I saw some great things, and some not so great things from other bloggers. Like with any large group of people you will see the best, and you’ll see the worst. Fortunately, most of the people in attendance were the BEST! It got me thinking about my “Conference Do’s and Don’ts”
DO go with friends! I’ve always gone to conferences alone, I mean, I have friends there too, but I’ve never had roommates. I was always nervous to room with people I didn’t REALLY know, and I kind of liked the idea of having a bed/room all to myself at the end of a busy day. Well, this time, I had two AWESOME roommates, and it made all the difference in how much I enjoyed the conference. I roomed with Mommy By The Sea and Mending The Piggy Bank. Other conferences, I found myself alone, ordering obscenely overpriced room service, and flipping through boring TV shows. Not this time!! I loved that I always had someone to walk or catch a cab with, someone to enjoy dinner with, someone to see a Broadway show with, someone to run to FAO Schwarz with (only to discover it had already closed and I changed out of my PJs for nothin’!) someone to laugh with before falling asleep. AND, the best part of having roommates? THE BUNK BED!!!! Wouldn’t have had that had I gotten a room for one!
Note: Even if you do go with friends, don’t forget to meet new people as well! Say hello, smile, you never know who you’ll meet or what great friendships could form!
DON’T over think everything. I know, you’re nervous or anxious or just downright excited, but you don’t have to analyze every little thing. I see it in blogger groups before every conference. “Do I have enough business cards? Is 250 enough? no? 500? You gave out 12,000 cards last year? Seriously? Oh lord. I’m going to run out. Do I have time to rush order? Should I just write a bunch out by hand? WHAT DO I DO?!?!?!” Same goes for outfit anxiety, and stress about the subway system. These are totally legit issues, but you don’t need to lose sleep over them! Relax, everything will be ok and you will have enough business cards, and if you don’t, you will just have to reach out to the brand when you get home (which you should be doing anyway!)
DO wear whatever makes you comfortable! As I mentioned above, so many people ask “What should I wear!” and the responses can be all over the place. Typically folks suggest “business casual” because, you are, in a way, interviewing with the brand reps you meet and you want to give a good first impression. That said, if you are incredible uncomfortable, physically or psychologically, with what you’re wearing, you wont give off a positive vibe. Last year I shopped for 4 days, and I don;t know, something like eleventy-billion stores. I bought 8 dresses. EIGHT! for a two-day conference. I ended up returning ALL OF THEM and wearing items I already had in my closet because I felt more comfortable, more confident, and more like myself in them. This year I found pants and a top that I loved, felt good in, and looked good in (I think so anyway) so I bought the ensemble in two different colors. I had so much more confidence, when approaching brands, because I felt good! (And I wasn’t overheating in spanx, or pulling at a skirt that kept riding up!) If you have a signature style, go with it! If your blog is “Mom in a Red Hat dot com” wear your red hat! Brands will remember you!
DON’T be all about that swag! Hey, I love free stuff as much as the next girl, but there comes a point where you start expecting a little too much. If a brand has a basket of candy bars at their booth you can definitely take one. ONE. O-N-E! Maybe you have to kids at home who absolutely LOVE candy bars, and in that case, it might be ok to say “Hey, is it ok if I grab one more of these, I have two kids, and you know, they keep track of who gets what.” That’s cool. But I saw folks asking brand reps for parts of their display! Just walking up, saying “Hey can I have this?” and walking away when the rep said “Uh, no, that’s part of our display” I felt like it wouldn’t be long before people were asking reps if they could borrow $20 for cab fare. At one of the events we were given a large bag filled with lovely goodies. I witnessed someone asking if they could “Have a couple more of these?” WHAT? No you may not. You get one! The brands were kind and generous enough to provide ONE bag of awesomeness to each of us. (In the hopes that we will share with the masses, of course) ONE. We each get ONE. I had two reps apologize to me because they had already run out of “swag” They thought they had more than enough, but “somehow” those little items were gone in no time. So, seriously, stop it! These conferences are about meeting brands and cultivating RELATIONSHIPS with them, and guess what? A relationship with a brand is far better than “swag” and you may even get bigger, better, more awesome items through those relationships! Amazing how that works!
DO give yourself some time to rest. This year there were two conferences running at the same time. Many bloggers were racing back and forth between the two and it was making ME tired to hear about it! There is a lot of “stuff” packed into a couple short days, and you don’t want to be overwhelmed and exhausted. Check out the schedule ahead of time, and see if there is any space in the day where you can have some down time. Go out to lunch, go back to your hotel room for a nap, take a walk. Whatever you do to clear your head! I understand the desire to “do it all” I never want to miss out on anything (FOMO is real, people!!) but I’ve learned that sometimes I just need an hour to chill.
DON’T Overindulge. I know that for many, this is the only time they get, away from their kids and family obligations, and they want to enjoy a drink or two with friends. However, you need to remember that this is a professional event, and while the drinks are abundant, you don”t have to drink all of them. If you come to a brand’s booth smelling like you’ve been at the bar all day and slurring your words, you WILL make an impression, just not a good one! I’ve seen bloggers acting in ways that are totally inappropriate, and embarrassing. You don’t want someone to mention your blog and have another person say “Oh yeah, remember when she was dancing on the table during the keynote breakfast?”
DO Enjoy yourself. Like I said above, this is YOUR time. You should have fun, eat all the cupcakes, try the tasty drinks, dance like it’s not being broadcast on Periscope!
DON’T take to social media to whine about the things you hate. I’ve seen it more often recently (and sadly, I have even done it myself) This community may seem huge, but it really isn’t. People talk, people share, people remember. If you don’t like the food, or the way something is going, find one of the conference organizers and share your feelings. They WANT to hear your feedback (just don’t be a jerk about it, and make sure your criticism is constructive) Jumping on facebook and telling the world that “The food SUCKS! #conferencehashtag” or tweeting out “Seriously, #thatotherconference had better speakers! I want my money back! #conferencehashtag” is pretty much going to ensure that you don’t get an invite to any conferences in the future. You don’t have to tweet/post/share happy updates, and say you’re loving everything if you’re not, but you should NOT be ranting about everything you hate. Make sure you are content staying on your side of the river, forever, before you start burning down bridges!
DO share your feedback with the conference organizers! Tell them what was great, and let them know if something wasn’t. They want you to be happy, they want you to tell your friends how awesome it was, they want you to come back next year. You can find the organizers at the event or send an e-mail when you get home!
DON’T miss next years Blogger Bash! I plan to be there, and I’m sure it will be AWESOME!!
Thank you to everyone involved with making this year’s Blogger Bash so much fun!
What tips would you share with conference goers? Share your Do’s and Don’ts in the comments!