I am finally getting around to posting about my conference experience! I’m only about 2 weeks late! I will blame the fact that my body has decided to hate me the last couple weeks but hopefully after this week’s appointment and some changes in treatment, I will finally get to a higher functioning level.
Anyways, as you know I attended Bloggy Bootcamp in Atlanta on October 22nd. It was an AMAZING experience. Seriously, it was one of the best decision I’ve ever made and so glad I took a chance and went. You see, I’m pretty introverted. My husband prefers the terms “backwards” and “hermit” but I think those are a bit of an exaggeration but I digress.
So the fact that I headed 3 hours from home by myself to a conference where I didn’t know a soul was a pretty big risk for me to take. I knew some faces and names from Twitter and the blog world but that was about it so when I loaded up my car on Friday to head south I felt as though I needed a Valium to calm the nerves (crazy Atlanta traffic did nothing to help either – I am so not a city girl). But I made it and lived to tell about it!
So as I was trying to process everything, I started to think that I am probably not the only shy kid in the blogosphere who is considering attending a blog conference so I thought I would share some tips that I picked up from my weekend at my first blog conference.
1 – Start Small. If you are an introvert, do not set yourself up for overload by attending BlogHer for your first conference. It may not end pretty so I advise to start small. Bloggy Bootcamp was the perfect place to start for me. Its a small conference (around 100 attendees) and for the first half of the day they assign seating to help you get to know each other which was one of my favorite things about BBC. When I went downstairs Saturday morning, I didn’t to have to wander around the room looking for a seat or sit alone at a table wondering if anyone would sit with me. We moved tables with each session which gave you a chance to pretty much meet everyone. It definitely made me feel so much more comfortable!
2 – Meet up with a small group before hand (like dinner the night before). The Friday night before the actual conference, some of us ladies who had already checked in the hotel met up for dinner which was great. It allowed me to meet some of the ladies in a more intimate setting so by Saturday morning I at least knew a few familiar faces. So I highly recommend if you are arriving at a conference a day early to see if anyone else has done to the same and try to meet up a meal or coffee. Meeting in a small group setting may help you “warm up” to the big conference day.
3 – Consider rooming your rooming situation. For this conference I had the best of both worlds, I had a roommate the first night but had the room to myself my second (by the way, my roomie was awesome and you should totally check out her blog). It was great having someone to talk to and hang out with so that’s a positive of having a roommate. However, sometimes as introverts we tend to go into social overload easily, so having a room to yourself as a way to decompress after the conference or social events is also something to consider.
4 – Don’t feel like you have to attend everything. Bloggy Bootcamp is a one day event, but if you are attending a multi-day conference (such as Type A Conference that I will be attending in June!) and you feel like you need a break, take one. Missing a session to decompress is a better idea in the long run than going into overload and melting down by the end of the day. Don’t feel bad for taking time to be alone as mostly likely it will help you stay refreshed and allow you to take in more from the sessions you do attend.
5 – Take a chance. Of course I have to end with the “big one” and the one that is probably the most difficult for us introverts but in the end it will be worth it. Signing up for Bloggy Bootcamp was seen a huge risk in my mind but by taking a chance, I have met so many wonderful ladies, many of which I can know call friends. So was it scary? Yes. Did I consider backing out? Of course. Am I glad that I took the risk? Absolutely.
So if you are shy like me and wondering whether or not you should sign up for that conference you’ve been eye-balling, I hope this post helps!