How Can I Have Fun If I Don't Know Anyone at #BlogHer16?

BlogHer Original Post

Some people are totally cool walking into a situation where they know no one, and then there are the rest of us. If you are wondering what you've gotten yourself into by signing up for #BlogHer16 on your own, keep reading. These are my best tips for finding your tribe at the conference. (Or, at the very least, a blogger or two to hang out with at the Expo.)

how to meet people at #BlogHer16

Ask Before You Leave

Send out the bat signal on social media before you go. You may (1) discover someone you know is going and you can make plans to meet up, or (2) you may get introduced to a friend of a friend.

In any case, use your social media channels to poke around and see who else is attending #BlogHer16.

Join the Facebook Group

If you're not already part of the BlogHer Facebook Group, get yourself over there post haste. Melisa Wells not only posts a lot of helpful information, but you can also connect with other people who are going.

If you find someone in the group who sounds like a like-minded individual, connect with them via the app. Click Attendees and then touch Request Friend. Or, if you're like me and too shy to do that, at least scoop up the information they've placed in their profile so you can find them online and connect in another social media space, such as Twitter.

Hang Out in the Lobby

All hotels have comfy chairs down in the lobby. Plant yourself in one and keep your eyes open. Chances are that you'll recognize someone you know going in or out of the hotel. Even if you don't see anyone you know, you'll likely find other people who are just hanging out, looking for someone to connect with. Look for other people who are lingering and looking around.

I've done this during so many BlogHer conferences. One time I saw someone I knew, and we ended up getting a drink and talking. Other times, I've just sat there and constructed blog posts in my head (that I typed up later). Either way, it's a win.

Join a Random Lunch Table

This ISN'T middle school. You can sit at any table. Just grab your food and look for an empty seat. This is the best way to meet new people at BlogHer. I did this last year at an opening activity and ended up finding this really cool woman to walk around with at Evening at the Expo.

I am not a very outgoing person, so I come mentally equipped with a few questions: What do you write, where do you live, is this your first BlogHer? Usually those questions get the conversation started, and then I count on the other person taking it from there.

And ask for a card! I reconnect with everyone I meet at the conference once I'm back home. I follow them on social media sites or start reading their blog. I'm still in touch with people I met at my first BlogHer conference 8 years ago.

Put Up a Sign

Okay, don't literally hoist up a sign, but feel free to wear a shirt that says Book Bloggers Unite or Member of the Food Blogger Club. In other words, make it obvious to other people what YOU write about and they will likely flock to you because they are looking to connect with other bloggers that share their interests.

I'm not a book blogger, but I always seek them out at BlogHer because I enjoy reading book blogs and getting recommendations. Plus, it's an easy conversation starter. I just ask the person what they're reading at the moment.

So make it easy for other people to find you based on what you write or your interests.

Keep Busy

Getting ensconced in an activity is a great way to stave off loneliness, and you're much more likely to meet someone while walking around the Expo or attending a panel than you will just standing in the hallway. People fall into conversation with other people around them doing the same activity.

So take a deep breath and walk into that keynote. Take a spin around the sponsor booths to have something to do. Attend a panel -- on the off-chance that you walk out of the room still alone, you'll at least have gained some valuable information that can help you create new content in the future.

Last Bit of Advice

Relax. You're going to be fine. You'll probably come back to this post the day after the conference to tell me about all the people you met at the conference and how you worried over nothing.

If you're doing an activity you love, even if you don't meet someone while doing it, you still get something out of the activity itself. So go into this knowing at the very least, you're walking out of the conference with great blogging and social media advice. But maybe, just maybe, you'll also be walking out with a handful of people you'll keep in touch with for years to come.

Melissa writes Stirrup Queens and Lost and Found. Her novel about blogging is Life from Scratch.

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