Enjoying every second of a blogging conference, or any meeting, even if you’re a tad shy in real life
So who is ready to walk into a room of 499 other women and not know a soul, okay not know a soul in real life and still have some confidence?
“Me! Me!” All the hands go up… or at least they did when you bought your ticket, and packed and flew, drove or whatevered your way there.
But now you are about to walk in there and face everyone. And you don’t want to look like an idiot in front of everyone.
But guess what… no one else does, either. And I’m going to help you go from shy to scintillating.. or at least not scared anymore.
For those of you heading to a blogging conference, or any event where you are seriously outnumbered by those you don’t know to those you do, it can be a bit overwhelming to put a huge smile on your face, walk through that door and have the time of your life. But you CAN do it. That’s why you came, after all… right?
So let’s start there.
Why did you decide to go? And what do you hope to give or gain from the experience? Take a few moments to think about that. Because you are going to get caught up in what everyone else wants, but you need to think of your plan, first.
Really do stop and think about it and write it down somewhere where you will see it several times throughout the conference. You want to make sure you aren’t losing sight of you and your goals, so pick ’em and then do what it takes to achieve them, within reason, of course.
Prepare yourself for small talk. Small talk leads to much more meaningful talk, but you have to start somewhere, so be ready. Here are a few things to think about, as they are sure to come up:
- Can you explain your blog in 30 seconds or less? (Don’t ask this question with this time limit, just be able to answer it this way.)
- Why did you start blogging?
- How did you pick your blog name?
- What other blogs do you read and why do you enjoy them?
- Do your non-cyber friends know that you blog? What do they think about it?
- Do you have any really funny commenter stories? (Watch out. The person you are sharing this story with might just be that commenter, so be careful!)
- Do you participate regularly in any blog carnivals?
- Why did you decide to come to this conference?
These are questions that all of us can probably answer, so make sure you do have an answer and feel free to use any of those questions as an icebreaker at any time.
Don’t be afraid to be honest. No, I haven’t read every blog which will be represented at any conference… and how could anyone be expected to? When you meet someone whose blog you’ve never read, admit it freely and ask them to tell you more about it. (See conversation starters above.)
Recognize that everyone is probably as nervous as you are make it a point to set someone else at ease. If you’re feeling lost, look for someone else who is also alone and save both of you from standing alone in the corner. Having a few conversation starters in mind can really help, as does looking your new blogging buddy right in the eye when you are talking with her. Introduce yourself, shake her hand and be friendly.
When looking for someone to walk up to find someone either alone or in a group with anything notable that you can comment on. Is there anyone who…
- is wearing something that stands out? (“Awesome scarf! I love the colors. Where did you get it? Have you featured it on your blog?”)
- has an infectious laugh (“I heard you laughing from over there and had to come see what was so much fun over here. Hi, I’m Amy….”)
- looks as though she is alone and just as uncomfortable as you (Hi, I’m Amy. Mind if I stand with you for a bit? I don’t know anyone here. Have you been to Blissdom before?)
Don’t get into a rut and visit with the same 5 people for the entire conference, unless those are the only 5 people you intended to socialize with the entire time. (And if that is your goal, that is perfectly okay.)
Give yourself little challenges to branch out. Set of goal of meeting, and actually talking with, at least 3 brand new people the first evening you arrive. Tell yourself that you must collect at least 3 cards of people whose blogs you would like to read or whom you would like to contact again for another reason. (Collecting cards without a conversation does not count.)
Then, after visiting with each of these people, take out a pen and write something on their cards that will jog your memory later about that person. (That way, when you get home and are sorting through your stack of cards, you can remember just whom you met.)
Once you have achieved that goal, raise the bar and try to meet 5 new people before lunchtime the next day.
Make this a little game for yourself, so you don’t focus on how you don’t know anyone, but you instead focus on how many people you have the opportunity to meet.
Remember that, once prompted, people typically like to share about themselves, umm, especially bloggers. So ask open-ended questions and let them go. Once the conversation is rolling you’ll both feel better and the other person is likely to think you are dazzling conversationalist… even if you led her to do most of the talking.
Any blogging conference is bound to be a blast… but it will be even better for you if you come prepared to spread your wings and really talk with all the amazing women around you.
What an incredible opportunity we have to get to know each other! And, I promise, if ever you’re feeling too shy to talk to anyone, please seek me out and come say hello. (You know what I’ll be wearing from my Blissdom Wardrobe packing post) I’d love to say “Hello” and get to know you.
Looking for more simple solutions to all sorts of life’s challenges? Visit Works for Me Wednesday at We Are THAT Family.
This post is also linked to Unfinished Mom’s Tips & Thoughts for my First Blissdom.