It’s that time of year. The time of year when a few thousand women pack up, some say goodbye to their families, some just get a pet sitter or wave at a roommate, and they start the Pilgrimage to The BlogHer Conference.
Twitter and Facebook are populated with “What will I wear/do/say/go to…” and many more. I’ll start my Survival Guide here, and ask y’all to help me out in the comments.
What to wear: Casual. BlogHer is a casual event. If you are a blogger going to meet up with girfriends go with the sundress and sandals route. Just toss a cardigan into your purse in case the sessions are in overly air conditioned rooms.
If you are a blogger who is attending BlogHer in hopes of landing a paying job, then you’ll need to dress for the job you want. Think casual friday, linen pants or lightweight slacks with a top (not a tee shirt) and close toed shoes. Alternately you can wear the sundress, just make sure it’s long enough.
I’m going to delight my friend April by quoting Annie, “You’re never fully dressed without a smile”. I promise you, in the absence of an outrageous costume, no one at the BlogHer Conference will be judging your outfits, but smiling at folks is the surest way to make friends. Engage them. Smile. This is the most important bit of advice I can give you.
Which parties should I go to? It’s nice to stop in at the parties you are invited to, but if you aren’t interested in the brand or the activity it’s perfectly fine to decline an invitation.
This I promise you, no matter where you are, you will feel left out of something. I want you to try and remember that everyone will have pangs of feeling left out. Do not let the feelings interrupt you, stop, breathe, and enjoy the room you are in. You will be surrounded by smart, dynamic people.
I wasn’t invited to THE party: It’s okay, it’s just one party. Conferences are littered with parties, events and networking. You can’t be everywhere, but you can enjoy where you are. Are you seeing a theme here?
My lipstick runs when I eat/talk too much/wear it all day. Try Lipfinity. It’s very drying so you don’t want it for everyday, but you do want it for conferences. Good lipstick matters.
I really want to meet ____ but I’m too shy. Don’t worry, she probably is too. That’s why she is blogging instead of greeting people as they walk into retail stores. You’re got your non-runny lipstick, your smile and your casual clothes, you’re just as important as anyone in that room, so there’s no reason to worry.
I just want to party with my friends. Good, but you aren’t at home. You may feel like you’re in a safe place, but you absolutely are not. You’re a stranger in a hotel in New York City. Have A drink. After dinner have ONE more drink. Don’t be the drunk girl, the drunk girl is not fun to spend time with, and the drunk girl does not feel well the next day. Drinking too much is the best way to ruin your weekend away.
I don’t want to see ____, I don’t like her. Seriously? Really? This isn’t high school, no one should have that much power, don’t give it to them.
I am going to ask a lot of questions at the sessions. Good, but when you do, make sure you don’t self promote. Last year there was a lot of, “Hi my name is Mommy McBlogger and I write at McBloggerHood.com and since I’m the foremost expert on selling your community out for a Big Mac and a fifty cent coupon I was wondering if any of you _____.” What happens is that Mommy McBlogger is remembered for being inappropriately self promotional.
I want to tell people all about my blog. Refrain. People aren’t there to read your blog, people are there to make human connections. I’m sure you can linkbait them and get them to read your one BlogHer wrap up post, but will that matter? If you want to make good conversation ask people about themselves. Remember their names, your perceived fame is limited to your blog, you are there to meet other people, to hear their opinions and learn about them.
If you ask people about themselves you will be remembered as a good conversationalist. Oh, and smile a little too, then you’ll be remembered as the nice conversationalist.
What would you add?
Thanks for the advice Jessica. When I am stressed out I forget to smile…need to remember that one.
Love the tip about remember to make human connections!
Thanks for the advice, this being my first time I am a bit frazzled already and I am not even there. I will stop, breathe and smile :)
This is the first survival guide I’ve read that actually made me LESS anxious. Who knew that this would turn out to be so stressful? Lovely as always.
I’m not going to BlogHer but one of the things I have found invaluable at conferences is a business card. It doesn’t have to be a fancy business card. You don’t even need a business! Just a name, a web site, an email address, a Twitter. Post-conferences I can’t possibly remember everyoneI met, but I have a physical reminder in card form.
And don’t be shy about asking for and handing out business cards. I wish I had asked for me and given out more at BlogHer last year.
And then follow up after you are home! No sense is collecting cards only to have them collect dust (yes, I found a pile of cards just last week form last year’s Blogher). A simple “great to meet you, hope you had a great conference” will do – even if it’s via twitter.
I’m sure you can linkbait them
That is an expression that lends itself to so much. Twenty years ago we would have had no clue as to what it meant. Wonder if the same thing will happen twenty years from now.
Jessica, thank you so much for the excellent advice. It’s my first BlogHer Conference and I’m looking forward to meeting people and learning as much as I can. I appreciate practical advice and, like Morgan, feel better after reading your tips.
Thanks for this post, Jessica! So wish you were going to be there to make a human contact and have conversation with……but that is truly what I look forward to the most. Thanks for the reminder of what really, trully matters!
Also, I LOVE Annie!
Love your survival guide, Jessica. Seriously ladies, this is all FANTASTIC advice!! Bravo!
To all those attending Blogher, have fun, don’t stress and remember just why you left your families, life and paid to go to the conference…it’s not for swag, it’s for building realtionships and cultivating friendships.
To those of us who aren’t attending…see ya on twitter! :)
Oh! and pack a mini deodorant in your purse…between sweating outside in NYC or sweating at the thought of meeting all of these awesome people, you’ll be glad you popped that Secret into your bag for an afternoon freshening up ;)
Great advice, Jessica! Now I’m bummed that I’m not going this year. Next year, though! :)
Thank you! I’m now fully dressed :)
Some great tips, I shall refrain from being the drunk girl, pack a cardigan and smile:). Thanks!
This is the best straightforward guide I’ve read so far, thanks for the tips. I know Ill be putting them to good use.
Yes – business cards. Bring plenty of them. And a battery charger for your laptop/phone/mobile device. Oh, and maybe – comfortable shoes? Great advice, Jess!
Oh no! The lipstick! The one thing I hadn’t thought about ;)
I will add this…
Be sure to *hug* Jessica Gottlieb. That woman gives great *hug*.
Thanks for the tips, cardigan, big smile, lipstick… Got it!! :)
I can’t wait to be there!!!
“and since I’m the foremost expert on selling your community out for a Big Mac and a fifty cent coupon”
(not going to BlogHer…again, but you guys have fun!)
Great minds, darlin’ (click on URL for BlogHer post)
But seriously, the first-timers (I’ve decided I hate the word “newbie”) need to hear and absorb that note about not being The Drunk Girl.