You’re going to a conference and you’re nervous – aren’t you? How do I talk to people? What do I wear?!
Oh the joys of social anxiety! I’m neither an extrovert nor an introvert – I’m both depending on my mood and the day, to be completely honest. Some days I’m workin’ a room, chatting it up with everyone. Other days, I’m a little more subdued and shy.
But I’m mentally preparing myself for the whirlwind that is to come during conference season in Toronto.
Here are six tips to remember when attending conferences:
1. Don’t be afraid to say hello!
Introduce yourself to people – remember, you’re all there for the same reason. You’re all there to meet, connect and network so don’t be shy to start up a conversation. Don’t know where to start?
Just go up to someone and say, “hi I’m so and so.” Don’t forget to tell them your Twitter handle! Many people I know I recognize by their Twitter name before I recognize their face or their name. So for example, I will say: “Hi, I’m Maria aka amotherworld on Twitter.” Exchange in some small talk, exchange business cards and boom!
If you’re super nervous about meeting a speaker or brand, do the same thing – say hi, great talk or love your product and exchange cards.
2. Pack well.
Make sure you have extra space if you decide to go shopping and bring home swag. Bring comfortable clothing! You may not want to spend all day in high heels so bring a pair of comfortable but stylish flats or riding boots. Leave the stilettos for after hours.
Try not to stay in the corner with your friends – get out there and mingle with new people. Although you want to spend time with your peeps, this is the time to meet new people and make new contacts.
4. Take Notes
Whether you’re bringing your phone, tablet, laptop or a pen and paper, take notes. There will surely be an overload of information that you won’t be able to remember. If you do bring a laptop, remember that it is heavy to lug around so a tablet or even a notebook might be a better bet. You can always leave your laptop in your hotel room.
5. Tweet away
People who aren’t able to attend love to read all about the conference sessions via social media. It’s also great to go back and re-read tweets later on when using the appropriate hashtag on Twitter. Follow the hashtag throughout the conference and connect with people after the session by tweeting them.
6. Follow up
Pick up those business cards! It’s always fun post-conference to go through your bags and business cards. Follow up with those you met, even just a “hello, nice to meet you” email will suffice.
Need more tips? Read my Dos and Don’ts at Blogging Conferences post!