The country’s largest annual blogging conference.
Lots of estrogen. Little testosterone.
In honor of attending my third BlogHer (leaving in only seven days…YIKES!), I am going to break it down in lists of threes. Ready?
Three Things to Bring
- Business Cards – If you plan on making lots of connections, they are definitely a must. Don’t worry, they don’t have to be professionally designed or fold out into cool little animal shapes or anything (though, if you do have one that does that, find me – I want one.) To put it simply, most people don’t even have the time to look at your site or follow you on twitter until they get home. If they don’t have your information, guess what? You’re out of luck. Print them at home if you have to. Just be sure ALL of your contact information is on your card. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to follow someone who forgot to list their email or twitter handle. grrrr. I am also bringing a sheet of stickers that has all of my information on it. Last year’s expo hall wore out my hand from filling in paper after paper. I do expect many of them to now have touchpads, but just in case, I’m prepared to slap that sticker on anyone’s paperwork. Another hint, if you have “old” biz cards you need to use up, throw them in the fishbowls for drawings. Why use up your “good” ones?
- Phone and chargers – Preferably, have a smartphone. Any phone will do, as long as you have some way to STAY CONNECTED. You wouldn’t believe the events that happen right on twitter! You also want to be able to call or text your besties so you can meet up. Also, plugins are a hot commodity. People will be using their chargers like mad, so dont’ expect someone to lend theirs out. If you have a dual charger, bring it. You may just find your best friend by sharing.
- Comfortable Shoes – Can I say this any louder? COMFORTABLE SHOES. You will be walking…A LOT. Okay, so you want your cutsie shoes for evening parties, so be it. But during the day? I’m telling you right now…wear something comfortable. You know what would really suck? To get blisters during the day and not be able to dance your arse off at night. Trust me.
Three Things to Expect
- Feeling Out of Place – Let me tell you a little story. My first BlogHer, 2009 in Chicago. I got there…knew practically no one. Went to my room, called my husband and cried. True story. I felt SO out of place and left out. I didn’t know what to do with myself. After a bit, I knew I was there for the weekend and made it a point to change my attitude and just accept whatever may come. Guess what? I ended up having one of the best times ever. I welcomed opportunity and friendship with open arms, therefore I ended up with both by the time I left. It’s okay to feel “out of place.” You’ll soon realize that feeling will pass.
- No Sleep – So, you think you have your days all planned out and that you’ll go to bed early and be all rested and ready for the next day….WRONG. Face it now…you aren’t going to get any sleep. End of story.
- Differences – Most people you meet will be much different in person. Even the most outgoing of people on twitter won’t say two words to your face…but will text you from across the table. It’s just that way. No matter who they are…big bloggers, little bloggers, those in between…they’re all on the same screen until you meet face to face
Three Things to Do
- Comfort Zone – Please step out of it. Talk to people you never thought you would talk to. Introduce yourself to celebrities. Walk into the place like you own it. Seriously. Do you know how much confidence I had to muster up to walk into a conference hall of 2000 women in a cowboy hat? The first step was a doozey…let me tell ya. Now? Watch out because I’m about to take charge.
- Opportunity – Take every one you can get. Whether it be a silly picture or a contest or making a video….just do it! So, you may be a little embarrassed, but what have you got to lose? NOTHING. See “Comfort zone” above.
- Connections – Connect, connect, connect…that’s what you’re there for! If you want to sit behind your computer and make friends, it’s cheaper to just stay home. You never know what is hiding around the corner or where your business card is going to end up. I am constantly amazed at how my connections have contributed to friendships (some VERY close), event invitations and travel opportunities!
Three Things NOT to Do
- Drama - First, don’t get caught up in it. Second, please don’t create it. With that many people in one hotel, I’m sure it’s bound to happen. Just avoid it like the plague…it can seriously make your break you.
- Drinking – You will find alcoholic beverages at pretty much every party or event you attend. It’s fine to drink…hell I do it all the time…err…but just don’t get blasted drunk. Remember, you are surrounded by 3000 people with cameras and videos that are just dying to drive some traffic on their blogs with your puking face on the screen. It happens and you don’t want to be in it. If anything, at least take it back into the privacy of your own room. Oh…and one piece of advice…flying while extremely hungover is the suck…so I hear.
- Equality – No matter who you are, don’t think you are better or lesser than anyone else there. Seriously. Do I need to say anymore about this?
Three Things to Do When You’re Back Home
- Decompress – Be prepared…it’s going to take you anywhere from a few days to even weeks to relive and absorb everything you have just experienced. It’s SO MUCH in such a short period of time. Plus, the fact that you have just had OTHER people providing you with food, drinks, transportation, swag and pampering is very spoiling. Getting back into “real life” takes a bit of effort. You scoff…but just wait.
- Swag – There is a lot. In 2009, two of us filled the back end of a mini-van. In 2010, I flew home with THREE suitcases PACKED full…and shipped two boxes home. I am going to be more selective this year and take advantage of the “recycle” table. Though, I do expect to still come home with more than is needed (I can’t help myself – I love it!) Sort through it rather quickly. If you leave it sitting on your dining room table for a month, it’s going to become stressful. Put away gifts for Christmas, share some with others and send off your tote bags to charity. Be sure to look through all of the paperwork because there are typically TONS of “free” codes or gift cards. I’ve gotten so many nice things for free (like a $60 laptop bag) just by using these gift codes.
- Reconnect – Here is where the business card situation comes in. I sit and look through EVERY one of the business cards I was given. If they are relevant, I follow them on twitter and check out their sites. Also, do the same with brands. If there is a company that you would like to work with, drop them an email and let them know! If you don’t follow up, your connections will die right on the vine.
Three Things You Will Realize When It’s Over
- You Overpacked - You THINK you want to have all of the cutest outfits and shoes when you first go…by day two, it’s much easier to throw on jeans and pull your hair up. Pick and choose a few cute things and mostly comfy items. Because hey…guess what? No one really cares what you’re wearing.
- You Overstressed – What to wear, what to bring, schedules, parties, who got what invite, blah blah blah. Most likely you have overstressed everything. Calm it down.
- You Overbooked – Face it, overlapping schedules are really no fun. It looks good on paper, but it’s really one huge headache. You can never get to the next event as fast as you want to. There is no time to change between parties. I agree that it’s very fun to be invited to so many parties but not if it makes you stressed and overtired. Last year, I did not stop from the time I stepped off the plane until the time I got off the plane back home. It was too much…and I have small feelings of resentment because of it. This year, I am fortunate enough to be able to fly in a few days early and stay a few days later. I’m looking forward to the “down” time.
There are zillions of bloggers out there that can give you conference advice – take it or leave it. Overall…just learn a lot and have. F-U-N!
Honest blogger found here: I’m so thankful for my 2nd year BlogHer sponsor, Feld Entertainment. If you’d like to know more about them, ask me! See where connections and relationships can get you?