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The past weekend I have been to my 3rd BLOGST conference and my 5th blogger event. People who have met me there would probably not describe me as shy or insecure. They would probably also not believe that I
hate despise networking. But all those things apply. But then I realized one thing the past couple of days about networking – it’s all about the mindset.
What do I mean by that?
Well there are two strategies really:
1. Book your ticket so very last minute that you are not able to drive yourself crazy with anxiety.
2. Prepare yourself.
When I go to a blogging event I usually put a lot of preparation into it. Other people plan their outfits (well I do that too but that is the last item on the list) I plan everything else. It makes me feel I am in control and then I can relax. When I am relaxed, I am myself and then I can get the most out of it and actually enjoy and guess what – network.
So of course I could just go ahead and say “well why go through all the trouble and buy a ticket to go if I could just hide behind a screen and write a comment every now and then”. Because it’s nice to see real people!
Here are things I do to feel prepared:
- I usually go through the attendees list very carefully and try to follow most the people Instagram so I already have the feeling I know them. It just lowers the inhibition threshold. And no please don’t tell me I am stalking. If I feel a connection I will comment and like but nothing forced, nothing to draw attention.
- The blogs I find interesting I start following in my feedreader and I make the effort on commenting too – if I have something to say.
- I create a twitter list with all attendees. Also very helpful while being at the conference because you can just follow and don’t miss a tweet. Also good to re-read after the sessions.
- Then I usually start blogging a tiny bit more beforehand. Makes me feel a more legit being there.
- When blogging I usually also realize all the kinks my blog has so it always gets a tiny facelift – win-win.
- I book the hotel as soon as I buy the ticket. I can usually cancel the hotel easily when there is a better deal for the conference hotel but I am already set in case not. If possible I would always opt for the conference hotel to meet as many fellow bloggers if possible.
- Also I plan enough time for arriving at the conference and some me-time. This way I have enough time to relax before it gets hectic and loud. This trip I had 2 hours to visit the Cologne Cathedral.
Those things are all fine in preparation but then conference day comes around and you still have to show up. There have been times when I felt so out of place. At one conference I felt so lost at the get-together that I actually sneaked out and left after an hour because I felt so lonely. Instead I sat in my room and read. At the same time I was a bit annoyed with myself because I spent money on being there. So for the past three hours I sat here sipping tea thinking what did make this years experience so much different. Why I was so much more positive and why I wasn’t scared. While I believe I am a bit more at ease with myself I also think I developed some tiny little ideas for easier networking. Maybe they help you too.
Networking life hacks to break the ice:
- I wrote Bine | waseigenes that I was too scared to talk to her at The HIVE 2013. Telling her that before the conference this time, I knew I had to say hello to not waste another 5 years (also it would have been so embarrassing…). It was so very nice to actually say hello in person. And it wasn’t awkward at all.
- I reached out beforehand to Silja | creatipster and asked if we wanted to have dinner again after the conference. Doing so I prevented the awkward feeling of not knowing where to go and who to turn to in the in-between hours.
- In the conference Facebook Group were a couple of people talking about going to dinner the night before the conference. I only new two of them from the previous conference and not that good. However I reached out asking if they had a spot left for me. So I was able to see Birgit | relativjung and Bettina | alltagsfeierin again. And met so many other girls like Evelyn.
- I got up a tiny bit earlier on conference days and just sat in the lobby to see who was also staying in my hotel. A good way to join a group of people and walk to the conference together. I met Kathrin | innenlebendesign again and got to know Anja | schminktante.
- When I got to the conference and stood in line for registration I turned around and talked to the person behind me. This is how I met Nicole | golden freckles. Sometimes it is so easy. Then I just followed her to where she wanted to sit and met her friends Dominique | ohnemehr and Marlene | wiediedietrich.
- The next day I did the same thing when I was in the line for coffee and got to talk to Kerstin | minipresents. And for lunch I had a conversation with Daniel | gintonicforbreakfast. Sometimes it is just so easy and not at all hard. Really.
- When the conference is over more days then one I never sit at the same seat. Instead I mix it up. So I sat next to Lisa | chiliblueten.
- I mentioned where I am from when talking to someone. People who walk by may stop and integrate in the conversation. This is how I met Ani | konfettiregen_berlin and Anja | La Bavarese.
- After a speaker is done with a session and I really enjoyed the talk, laughed or learned something I make the effort to walk up and tell them. I am always scared put they just delivered a speech to 200 people so I can do it to one person. This way I was able to talk to Bianca | starkmitworten, Nina | juramama If I don’t catch them because they are surrounded by a huge crowed (and I can not muster up the courage I will at least write a message through instagram: Jules | herz.und.blut)
- And then there are the lovely people I know already Filiz | filizity, Julia | deichdeern, Katha | katastrophal and who I try to catch and have a chat with.
- Also it is nice to reach out to people who you missed at the conference. I did so with Sandra | dasfreuleinbackt and Nina | pinspiration.
I hope those ideas help you and you have the possibility to find likeminded people around you where you can share your ideas and passions with. I am so grateful for Clara | tastesheriff and Ricarda | 23qm Stil for creating the Blogst Community and the spirit that it always sparks within me.
Wishing you all a wonderful motivation week,
Disclaimer: This post contains links to other Blogs. Due to current (German) law this needs to be labelled advertising. Furthermore I have linked a few of my older articles because I believe you might enjoy them.