It’s three weeks until the ProBlogger Event (#PBEvent). I cannot wait. I’ll be in my element, learning about all things blogging and being surrounded by likeminded people, and I’m also glad for the warmth of Queensland.
Blogging conferences leave me inspired and drained. It’s exhausting learning, networking and socialising. (And drinking.)
I seem to be an extrovert, but I really do like my alone time. At times, I feel socially awkward, not knowing what to say or who to talk to. I have had to work really hard to put myself out there after so many years of feeling alone. I do get overwhelmed - especially because I am easily recognisable but don't recognise others very well – and I hope that my vagueness doesn’t make me seem unapproachable. If I don't recognise you, say hello and let me know who you are!
Kelly Exeter wrote a great post on kicking arse at a blog conference as an introvert, and Talking Frankly wrote one about the difficulties of being an extrovert (I admit to being intimidated by her when she told me she would out-tweet me last year!). The aim of my post is to provide some advice about meeting people at blogging conferences - whether you're an introvert or extrovert.
Bloggers are people too.
There are no celebrity bloggers. No blogger is better than you just because they’ve been around for longer or won an award or belong to a really cool group. They are just bloggers who are people too. Thinking like that can lead to disappointment!
Remember that blogger you place on a pedestal was also once starting out as a blogger.
Don’t think that someone doesn't want to speak to you. They might be dealing with their own anxiety or networking with a brand or catching up with a friend they've not seen in ages. As mentioned, I was on the receiving end of someone being disappointed when they met me – and that hurt.
Go up and say hello!
A blogger recently told me they sat at the same table as me for a day-long event but was too shy to talk to me. So I didn’t get to discover how awesome she is, and she told me she left regretting not saying hi.
Don't be too shy to talk to someone you admire online in person- just go up and say hi. It makes me sad when other bloggers tell me they were too scared to talk to me – because I genuinely want to meet so many wonderful people. Speaking of, I caught up with Clare recently - I love this lady and don't see her often enough!
Make time to catch up.
If you really want to catch up with someone there (and not sure if you will get time or be confident walking up saying hello), send them a tweet or PM beforehand saying 'I love what you do and hope to see you at Problogger, fancy a coffee at 8 am?'. They’ll probably be really flattered and love to spend time with you. Catching up might lead to opportunities like guest posting or collaboration on exciting projects!
I have this personal motto that might seem a little up myself – but it’s something I try to follow at conferences. ‘Make myself known to those who need to know me.’ So, if there’s an editor I want to pitch myself to, or a brand representative that I’d love to work with, I’ll go chat with them, give them my business card and tell them I really like their work.
Don’t be haunted by the comparison thief.
It’s easy to feel like everyone’s doing so much more than you! Blog conferences showcase speakers who have had oodles of success – making a full time wage, getting a book deal, speaking at amazing international events, partnering with global brands, getting ten thousand hits a day, nailing SEO… You might leave feeling deflated. Or you could leave feeling inspired. I just want you to leave feeling that you and your blog are enough. If 100 people read your blog a week, that’s enough. If someone has written to you to tell you you’ve helped them, that makes blogging worthwhile.
Take some time out for you.
Blogging conferences can be overwhelming. So many people! So much information and advice to take in. And I’ve felt a real sense of evangelism being surrounded by people who just it. They just get blogging and personal branding and social media for social good. I also tend to live tweet every session I attend, which makes me concentrate really hard. By 3.00 pm, I feel burnt out.
So it’s nice to retreat to my hotel room, spend some time at the bar or pool with a friend, or even taking a few deep breaths in the toilet (even if it means being discovered by a fangirl – which is REALLY flattering, seriously!).
Don’t try to do it all at a blogging conference. Skip a session each day. Zone out on the plane before and after the event. Get some good food into you. Order room service. Hug a friend. Be yourself.
I’m booking a manicure this year. I just want to be pampered.
Are you going to Problogger? Any tips? Please say hello!
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