Monday, July 25, 2011

BlogHer '11-The Essentials

This year will be my fourth BlogHer Conference. I've learned a few things and I'm happy to share!

The Basics:

  • Make plans to meet your roommate/best blogging pals before you go in to the ballroom/breakfast area on the first day. It will be jam packed and with 3,000+ attendees you'll never find anyone. Meet first and go in together.
  • Alternately, it's totally ok if you go in alone. There will be plenty of other people that are sitting alone or looking for someone to sit with. Introduce yourself, give your elevator pitch, then ask questions. This is a networking conference. Use it. (Honestly. I follow some awesome bloggers that I never would have found if it hadn't been for the previous 3 conferences.)
  • If there is someone that you really MUST meet, connect through email or Twitter before you go and make plans to meet. Concrete plans. I have missed the same person all 3 years. No Lie. (I'm looking at you, Pauline.) Don't let this happen to you!
  • Take your business cards and exchange them with people. For the love of God, please make sure you give one to me. I cannot remember everyone I meet. I iz getting old. Giving me your card guarantees a blog visit from me in August and a mention on my People of BlogHer post.
  • Look over the session schedule before you go. (I've only made this mistake once.) You should have an idea of what you'd like to learn about before you get there. You can, of course, change your mind, but having a basic idea is helpful. Believe me, your head will be swimming with information and knowing a little ahead of time will ease the crazy.
  • Don't sit in a session that you're hating. It is NOT considered rude to get up and leave. Since sessions are not repeated you should change sessions if there is another going on at the same time that you're interested in. You paid for your ticket; get the most out of it.
  • Take notes. I can't type fast enough to keep up with all of the speakers so I make sure I have an notebook with me. It helps. A lot. It also keeps me focused on the speakers because if I have my computer open I'll often check Twitter or Facebook instead and miss something funny or important.
  • Conversely, if there is not a session that you're interested in during a time slot, don't feel obligated to go. Use your time to 'recharge' yourself and your gadgets in your room, chat with friends, get a coffee or glass of wine, visit the Expo Hall, or get outside. The weather in San Diego is beautiful and I'm certain it will be cooler than where you live. Enjoy the sea breeze and fresh air!
What to pack:
  • Casual outfits for daytime: capris and tops, or casual dresses are perfect. Like everyone says, be comfortable. 
  • Evening changes are optional but can be totally fun. I mean, who has regular occasion to wear these?
    Sarah's Awesome Skull Heels, BH'10 (Goon Squad Sarah)

  • Wear what makes you feel good and confident-whether it's dressy, business-like or casual. There will be plenty of people in all of it, so wear what makes YOU happy. The rest of us honestly don't care. 
  • Related: Every year I have packed an outfit for every day and one for every night. I end up only wearing what I put on in the morning because I'd rather visit with people and continue having fun than take the time to go upstairs and change. Lesson: one extra outfit is fine, more than that is TOO MUCH.
  • Make sure to pack an extra bag. No, really. You'll get plenty of shopping bags, swag, etc., but what you WON'T get is an extra suitcase to pack it all in. It is cheaper to pay your airline for an extra bag than paying to have it shipped home. Hit the mall, (or ask your friends,) and find a duffel bag that is sturdy enough to check. Pack it flat on the way there, then you can stuff it full of all of the fun stuff that you'll get at the conference!
Things I've found you DON'T need to pack:
  • notebook 
  • pens/pencils
  • water bottle (Often there more than one sponsor company that are handing them out, plus there are refill stations.)
  • attitude
    Let me know if you're going to San Diego. The best part of the conference is meeting everyone that usually lives in my computer!

    A sampling of my previous BlogHer Conference posts:
      Why I'm Going to BlogHer (08)
      Getting to Know Me, BlogHer 09
      (Add Witty Title Here) (10)
      People of BlogHer: 2009, 2010

      Headless Mom


      AmazingGreis said...

      Yaye, can not wait to see you in 9 days!!!

      Kizz said...

      It was great to share a meal with you last year. Hope we get to repeat the experience this year!

      Issas Crazy World said...

      You know that Pauline isn't going this year right?

      I love the leave the attitude part.

      Anna See said...

      Great advice!!!! Wish I were going this year!

      Headless Mom said...

      @Kizz- great idea. I'll be the one sitting in the corner. Not! Let's try to make that happen!

      To Greis and Issa, I can't wait to see you both.

      And to you, Miss Anna, I'm not happy that you won't be there. I'll miss my sister!

      Liz@thisfullhouse said...

      Counting down the days, which, of course, means I should be making lists and packing, but I'm not. Also, not stressing. Except, the plane ride. BLECH! Can't wait to see you, my friend!

      Anonymous said...

      Great tips! It's my second Blogher and I am definitely taking the laid back approach! Hope to meet you there :)

      Ramblin' Red said...

      I'm so jealous! For almost 6 years now I have been reading of everyone's BlogHer fun and I really just need to save for this next year! Have fun!

      anymommy said...

      Going! So looking forward to seeing you again. xo.

      Debby@Just Breathe said...

      Have a great time. Can't wait to hear all about it!

      blueviolet said...

      What great advice! Hey, Debby just told me that you're an IRL friend of hers and that you're going. I hope we get the chance to meet. She is a genuine sweetheart, so if she likes you, I know you're wonderful!

      Melisa with one S said...

      Great tips! I can't wait to meet you in person, FINALLY!

      Shannon Entin said...

      Looking forward to the fun! My best tip is to be comfortable. It really affects my confidence if I'm wearing something uncomfortable.