When I decided to attend a social media conference in 2012, I had no idea what I was walking into. I knew no one. I’d barely begun navigating the waters of social media. I hardly knew what I was doing with my blog, or why I was doing it. But I went with a clear idea of what my plan of attack would be.
1. Check Your Insecurities At The Door.
Can you love conversation and be shy? Uh-huh. Does walking into a room full of strangers leave you slightly nauseated and keyed up? Hell, ya. Is attending a social media event the craziest thing you’ve ever done? No. Drinking crappy wine while at university in Wales, and then hanging out your second floor window belting out Black Crowes songs takes that prize.
But making the decision to attend a weekend conference where you’ll fight your natural inclination to hang back is kind of crazy. Try to remember that 87% (give or take, these numbers are sketchy) of attendees are feeling just as sick, and as long as no one loses their lunch on anyone’s heels (why are you wearing heels? Converse are way more comfortable!) you will learn something. You'll fine tune why you’re at the conference and where you’re going.
2. Start Listening And Then Start Talking.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and believe that everyone but you has a firm plan. They don’t. Once you hear what other conference goers’ goals and concerns are, you’ll realize everyone is in a similar place, or was once there. The people who have solidified their goals, for blogging, writing, or social media, will share their knowledge. Listen and learn, and then talk to someone. You might be the one who makes another person feel they’re not fumbling in the dark.
3. Cut People Some Slack.
At my first conference, I was nervous. When I’m nervous I go from super energetic to wanting to hide in a corner or, because this is social media, behind a phone. Whether you’re outgoing or a hermit, there’s a place for you at Blissdom. Not everybody deals with new situations in the same way, and if you see someone buzzing by, laughing loudly, and making groaner jokes, cut them some slack. It might be her way of making an uncomfortable situation easier, for everyone.
4. Suck It Up, Buttercup.
You’re nervous. You don’t know anyone. I get it. But if you have children, what would you tell them to do? Say hi. Go introduce yourself. Invite her to play. And because I do get it, I’ll tell you what I say to my children when they tell me they’re scared of getting out of their comfort zone, “Suck it up, buttercup. Imagine how scared she/he/they are.” I also tell them (and myself) that it’s not fun to be the one left sitting on the park bench when everyone has gone off to play because you were too afraid to say hi.
5. Make Friends And Have Fun.
This one is really the key. If you go into a new situation with positive expectations, planning on making connections with at least one or two people of like mind, you will. These connections might turn into real friendships, which means you’ll have fun, and when we have fun we’re more open to learning.
I can’t guarantee you’ll leave BlissDom knowing the secrets of life, but if you get out of your comfort zone, you might just have a clearer idea of what the plan is for your writing, blogging, and social media career.
So, you’re at a conference with a bunch of women, staying awake past your bedtime, carrying around a coffee drip to stay upright, and jumping out of your comfort zone. Know what goes well with that? Comfort food.
Check out these 5 favourites you can bring with you to see you through the weekend:
Bon appétit! And enjoy BlissDom!
For more articles, tips, and tricks to help you get organized and make the most of your blog and business visit our BlissDom Canada 2014: How Do You Find Your Bliss? page.
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