Image Courtesy of Mollie Makes © Will Ireland
Earlier this month I had the pleasure of attending my first blogging conference – Blogtacular – the conference to go to if you are a blogger in the creative field. It has taken me quite a while to even begin to process all that I learnt and everyone who I met on the day. Not to mention a good rummage in the goodie bag afterwards! I plan on writing a few posts about Blogtacular – what I learnt, my actions afterwards and of course the goodie bag reveal. However I wanted to start with a short post on preparing for attending an event such as Blogtacular if like me, you suffer from acute anxiety and you get nervous in these sort of situations. So here goes with my five top tips for preparing for a conference:
Network beforehand – One of the fantastic things with Blogtacular is the weekly #blogtacular chats on Twitter (9pm every Wednesday) and also the Facebook group. I was anxious about meeting people on the day but by interacting with them during the Twitter chats and commenting on posts in the Facebook group meant I already had some idea of who people were, what they blog about and to my relief….many were nervous to. A big conference often has a # for social media so why not put a post out on Twitter asking who else is attending your event?
Arrange to meet someone on the day – If you have been able to network in advance or you know someone else going to the conference, arrange to meet them on the day, either in the lobby area of the venue or if you don’t think that’s possible then at the first break time you have. If you are super anxious, it can be helpful knowing that you are going to meet a friendly face and be able to talk with someone during the networking sessions rather than hide away in the loo or a corner of the room on your phone.
Plan your sessions – often with conferences, as with Blogtacular, the schedule of speakers is shared before the day. This is great as it gives you time to think about what sessions you would like to attend, perhaps think about questions you might like to ask and also do a little background research on the speakers so you are familiar with what they do. One tip is not to be too fixed on what sessions you want to attend just incase there isn’t space in the room on the day.
Give yourself time to travel – Because I was busy earlier in the week I was unable to join the Blogtacular Craft Party at West Elm the night before, meaning I would be getting up much earlier than I liked and travelling into London the morning of the conference. I was a bit anxious about getting there on time and walking into a room filled with people [hello imposter syndrome!]. If this is something that makes you anxious either plan to stay close by the night before if your budget allows, or, make sure your allow plenty of time for travel and potential delays. If in London, it’s always handy to have an alternative tube route in case there is engineering works on the line you need.
Pack your bag in advance – you don’t want to be rushing around the minute you are supposed to be leaving on the day trying to find your favourite pen or a notebook. Have a think about what you might need on the day and pack your bag in advance. Do you need a cardi if the air-con is likely to be cold, do you need to take a packed lunch (I always do, I have food anxiety), what about a pen and notebook – ALWAYS an excuse for stationery shopping!! And don’t forget your business cards.
Anxiety can be horrible, especially in a situation such as a conference and so by taking a few steps to prepare beforehand you will hopefully reduce the level of anxiety on the day. But one final tip to bear in mind, with a conference about a specialised subject, such as creative blogging, everyone is attending for the same reason and so you will always have something in common with everyone there!
Keep an eye out for future posts about Blogtacular, I have a few planned for the next couple of weeks. Were you there? I’d love to hear from anyone who was, or share a tip about how you prepared for the event.