I have been going to blogging conferences ever since I started blogging, which was back in 2012. The same year I graduated High School. Now you need to know something about me…I'm an introvert. I like people, I just don't always like people. So when I went to my first blogging conference as an introvert I had no idea how to interact with anyone or how to handle all those strangers, so in case you are like me, I wanted to tell you a few things I've learned about being an introvert at a blogging conference.
I want to start out by saying this: it is possible to go to a blogging conference and be an introvert. I can totally vouch for this, because I have not only gone to one blog conference, but five, and I survived every single one of them. Now I didn't say it was easy. Being an introvert it is always so hard for me to start up a conversation. It is so hard for me to be around so many strangers (howbeit they are all bloggers) for so long. It is terrible sitting at a table full of people you don't even recognize and be expected to “socialize”. But it is possible and very worth it.
5 things about blog conferences introverts should know
- Take your time – I don't know what it is, but when I first arrive at the conference I am mute. Like I love being here, I love seeing everyone's excitement, but I'd rather take it all in first. I usually start warming up 24 hours upon arriving to the conference. (I know! Crazy, right?) I just like to observe, learn, and feel the atmosphere around me.I don't think this is wrong of me, and if that is what it takes for you than you aren't alone. We'll feel out the conference together. *wink*
- Take alone time – I've found that sometimes to much excitement and too much interaction with people will make me super tired and withdrawn, so when that happens I take the time to be on my own. I go up to the hotel room and just work on my laptop, or lay down for a little while, only long enough to unwind and ready to go back to the crazy fun.
*If you need to do this, be sure to do it only when there is a break in the conference schedule, because I don't want to miss anything important and I don't want all my introverted friends to miss anything, either.
- Become a billboard – I need to be honest…it isn't easy being sponsored to a conference and an introvert, because that brand that is sponsoring you to go to a conference expects you to talk about them or hand things out to total strangers. I've found that becoming your sponsors “billboard” is the best thing possible, because you can be carrying a cup around with your sponsors logo on there and someone asks you about “what is that?” or “is that your blog?” If you wear a sponsor shirt, you'll draw peoples eyes to it and it will be a perfect ice breaker! It has saved me so many times and I know it will for you as well! If you are going to pitch a brand for sponsorship, add this to your letter, so it is a win-win for everyone!
- Stretch yourself – I know some introverts can so easily hide behind their label of “introvert”. That is me, too, on MANY occasions. To many to count. By going to blog conferences I have been stretched in ways I never thought possible, and you know what…I liked the experience. I usually attend a blog conference with my mom, Dollie Freeman (yeah, she is the one putting this conference all together) and she is so extroverted it hurts. She makes me talk to people, do things I don't want, and be social. It is both good and bad. At the time I feel like someone is trying to pull teeth, but afterwards I feel good, because I just discovered something about myself and actually had…FUN! One time my mom went up to bed and I had fun in the photo booth with people I didn't even know.
P.S. It was mostly for the photo booth, because I never had been in one before and wanted to see what all the hoop-la was about.P.P.S. If you ever go to a conference with a photo booth, be sure to get some pictures. You'll be glad you did AFTER the fact.
- Talk – Yes, I said the “T” word. As horrible as it may sound right now, it actually turns out to be a fabulous thing. It may be hard to start a conversation, but when you come to a conference be prepared with a least three “conversation starters” in mind, such as “So where have you traveled from and what is your blog?” or “What do you blog about and how long have you been blogging?” You'll be so surprised about all the doors that will open from just talking. (If only I can listen to my own advice at times…).I have actually met someone who is really close to me from talking. We (my mom that is) invited her to our room one night for “blogging fellowship” and chocolate, and we started talking and now she is such a dear, DEAR friend of mine and she is coming to this conference! All because I talked. What can you do if you just talked to three strangers at every conference you go?
Now I give you these tips, but doesn't mean every introvert is the same, because I know we are not, so sometimes we have our own little quirks about how to handle all these crazy extroverts, but I just wanted to let you know that it is possible to go to a conference as an introvert.
A note to the extroverts…
We (the introverts) love it when you start the conversation, so if you see someone who is quiet and has a timid look in their eyes, please say something to us. We want to talk, we are just sometimes not sure how to start.
If you notice that you have a shadow (a.k.a introvert) it is because we really like you and we love how easy it is for you to meet and talk with other people, so we just want to follow in your footsteps and learn some of your techniques.
I hope to see you all at the conference so we can all GROW inwardly and outwardly as introverts, because sometimes everyone needs to stretch.