If you’ve never been to a BlogHer conference, you can do your best to get all your ducks in a row, to research, to prepare, and still….
you don’t really know what to expect. I mean, FOR REAL.
All the tips and recommendations in the world cannot FULLY prepare you, but that does not have to be a bad thing. IMHO (Grandma, that means “in my humble opinion”) what you need to do is something that goes along with the whole philosophical poetic and touchy feely vibe of this website of mine here on the worldwide interweb….
- BE YOU. No. Really. YOU. You are good stuff. Be the good stuff you are. Believe that you are you for a reason and carry on with your bad self. Please don’t look around and think there are cliques and people ignoring you. They are just people who have made friends and they are hanging together in person because it’s a chance to hang together in person. Also. We all feel small in large situations, so it’s possible we’re staying near those that help us remember to be fine.
- KNOW WHAT YOU WANT. For real, friends. WHY are you going? Do you really know? Make a bit of a plan. It doesn’t have to be super strict or organized, but if you want to see people, make a date. Or it will not happen. If you want to make it to certain sessions, put them in your calendar and arrive early. If you’re going because people go and apparently you’re supposed to go and so you’re just winging it and hopefully it will all work out? That’s fine, but please be prepared to possibly get lost in a crowd and feel kind of weird (totally normal) and wander some more and then get lost and then maybe cry (totally normal).
- PUT YOUR FANTASTIC FACE ON YOUR FREAKING BUSINESS CARD. (If you already got cards with no face on them, don’t panic. There’s always next time, or even more cards.) You guys, at BlogHer (or any conference), we meet a lot of great people, but no matter how super great they are, we forget who was who because…ALL THE PEOPLE. So, add a photo of your beautiful mug to your card, even in a little corner or on the back. Later, instead of throwing away your card when they get home, with a shrug, people will instead go “OH her! She was so friendly and open and awesome! I’m going to tweet her right this second and like her facebook page and follow her blog and follow her on Pinterest and find her on LinkedIn and google+ circle her and YAY!!” (Just so you know, one of my favorite places to get business cards is through Vistaprint, so here’s a little something for you: Great Deals on Vistaprint Products. You’re welcome!)
- PLEASE I AM BEGGING YOU TO GO TO VOICES OF THE YEAR. No matter what kind of blogger you are, this is an experience of pure connection and inspiration. Come and listen to your fellow social media enthusiasts read their words. Bear witness. Spoken word is THE BEST. You will laugh hard, maybe cry (in a good way) and you’ll look around and know why you came. You came because we’re all the same. We’re visionaries and creatives and we love connecting online. We write, we create, we do a whole lot of things and there is support for what you do, in other women. GO TO VOTY. (And then, after you’ve fallen in love with listening, head to The Listen To Your Mother Open Mic, wherein YOU can put your name in the hat to read your own work!)
- WHEN IN DOUBT, GO TO THE SERENITY SUITE. This year, BlogHer is providing a suite at both locations (the McCormick building AND the Sheraton). Whether it’s day or night, session time or party time, we’re there for you. (Maggie of Violence UnSilenced and I are back again to host the suites and staff the suites with the BEST volunteers you’ve ever seen ever. Come and see us! We all get tired and overwhelmed and our feet hurt and we want some quiet and a respite and a relaxed atmosphere. The Serenity Suite is the place for the moments when you simply need a breath. It’s an alcohol free zone for people in recovery and it’s a location for meet-ups with friends where there’s chocolate and soft music for everyone and anyone. The suite is open to ALL. Please don’t forget, because there’s a chance you’ll feel overwhelmed and you’ll want someone to make you feel like you’re not losing your mind. That’s what we’re there for. Validation and stuff.
If you have questions, just ask! There really are NO dumb questions when it’s your first (or 2nd or 3rd or 4th….) conference experience.
Here’s the main thing, friends: You get what you live, right? So be positive–expect good things, make a plan and see some people you care about, be you and have a good time! Listen to YOU–there’s no wrong way to feel but you get all extra emotional if you don’t allow yourself to feel stuff and then move on. Take breaks when you need them and go to some fun parties. Go to sessions that will help you grow. BE YOU.