Conference Corner: Nine Tips for BlogHer Newbies

BlogHer Original Post

Whether it’s your first conference or your fourth, sometimes we all feel like a #BH11newbie. There will always be attendees we haven’t met yet -- it’s impossible to meet everyone -- and it will often seem like there are events that everyone knows about ... except you. BlogHer wants to banish that feeling. We strive to make each conference as inclusive and accessible as possible, and today we’re offering a few tips for Newbies, and introverts, and those who feel a little gun-shy walking into a party, or a general conference room, or even just breakfast. The nine tips below are samplings from both BlogHer staff and the BlogHer community (click on post titles to read more tips written in "Prep for BlogHer" blog posts):

1. Strike up conversations. Lots of them. If it feels like everyone is talking to someone else, just walk up, smile and say hi. Introduce yourself. Everyone likes meeting new people, and this is a perfect opportunity. If walking up to an involved group feels awkward, look for someone not talking to anyone. Sometimes she’s at a table, sometimes along the wall, often away from the crowd. And always, always introduce yourself to the folks sitting near you in panels, with your business cards at the ready. They’ll make great, friendly faces at meals later, you’ll already have something to talk about (the panel!), and you never know where your budding friendship will take you!
-  Jes Ferris, BlogHer’s conference programming manager, @chirky

2. Map out the sessions you want to attend in advance. The sessions range in topic from techie tutorials to blog ethics. Choose wisely. And don’t be afraid to skip one if another opportunity presents itself.
-  Guest Post by Suzanne, Going to BlogHer part 2

3. Know your goals. Are you there to meet other bloggers, network with sponsors/brands, improve your blog, work on your writing, be inspired? Be clear on what you want to get out of your two days and don’t get distracted by what other people are doing. This is your time: make the most of it.
-  Chinese Grandma, Preparing for BlogHer 2011

4. Daytime Outfits. You’ll see lots of people saying “wear whatever you are comfortable in.”  That’s totally true.  Last year people wore anything from jeans/tee-shirts to business wear.  You want to look nice, but also feel comfortable in your own skin.  Pick things that let your personality come through.  I’m planning on sundresses or jeans with a nice top.
-  Caitlin,  with tons of great packing advice in 20 Days Until BlogHer

5. Shoes. Pack flip flops just in case your shoes kill your feet!
-  Carrie Winegarden, BlogHer’s marketing coordinator, @carrieactually

6. Follow Jane Nation’s Twitter list of attendees! [Her] Twitter list of over 600 tweeps who'll be attending BlogHer 11 - it is THE most comprehensive list of BlogHer 11 attendees!! And if you'd like to be added to this Twitter list, just comment [on the site linked] below with your Twitter handle, and [she’ll] be sure to add you!
-  Karen Jane Moran, I’m Going to BlogHer ’11…

Additionally, we recommend adding yourself to the official BlogHer attendees pages! Just (1) log in to BlogHer.com, (2) click on the Attendee Pages link, and (3) click "Add your profile."

7. Order Bloggy Business Cards. Tweet friends to see who has used which online printing company. Upload your image to five different web sites to see how they look. Use your questionable math skills to compute which site will save you the most $ while still making your cards look awesome. Have a bad dream that your cards arrive in the mail, but they are printed on construction paper. Done.
-  Old Tweener, How to Prepare for BlogHer

8. Relax. No matter what you're doing, you'll be missing out on 20 other great things. So enjoy where you are and who you're with.
- Suebob Davis, BlogHer conference veteran, @suebob

9. Don’t be afraid to find a staff member and ask us questions. Email us, tweet us @BlogHerEvents, approach us on site - we're here to help! I think a lot of newbies feel like they're bothering us, or that a real human won't be receiving and reading their emails, so they don't even try. Plus, I like getting to meet the attendees - it's my favorite part of the event.
-  Erin Groh, BlogHer’s sponsor relationship manager, @erinrosegroh

* * * * *

If you’re a newbie, what would you like to know about BlogHer events before attending your first conference? If you’re a veteran, what do you wish you had known beforehand? Or, perhaps you’re an introverted veteran attendee ... are there are things you *still* wish you knew, despite the number of conferences you’ve attended? I’d love to know!

About the Conference Corner: The Conference Corner is a weekly series about BlogHer events. Whether you’re a BlogHer newbie or BlogHer veteran, we hope you’ll gain some new insight in this segment!

BlogHer Conference Programming Manager
Find me at BlogHer.com and Chirky.com

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