I know this is going to sound like a no-brainer but after you’ve been a grown-up for a while it’s nice to get a reminder on how to make friends, and as much as I’d like to think of myself as shy…I’m not. I talk too much, ask questions, and tell people way more than they wanted to know about me within the first few minutes of a conversation. It’s who I am. So, here’s a few things I’ve learned from both past and current experiences!
Connecting Before the Event
- Get on Twitter and follow hashtags for the event you’re attending. Before I started following #blogher12, the only thing I did on Twitter was share links and attend parties. Now, I’m finally starting to see the draw. It’s like being able to jump into a conversation you overhear in a restaurant without getting dirty looks. (P.S. Sometimes you can find groups on Facebook too.)
- Forums are another great source of all kinds of information, roommates, cab sharers, and friends. Initially I’d been following the various conversations happening on BlogHer and then I found the Momspark forums. LOVE THEM. If Twitter still intimidates you jump into a forum, it’s a slower pace and easy to follow format.
- Everyday we’re building new relationships with one another through our blogs posts and comments. If you realize that one of your favorite bloggers is going to be in attendance send them an email, or just write a comment saying, “Hey hope to run into you at ****. We should sit together at lunch one day!”
- Get there early. Someone, somewhere is always setting up a pre-conference dinner, lunch, etc. sign up, say you’re coming and go! Then when you get to the event starts the next day you’ll already be able to find a few familiar faces in the crowd.
- Smile, seriously, no one wants to approach the person who only pokes their head up from their electronic device long enough to give skeptical and suspicious glances around the room. SMILE ALREADY!
- BE IN THE MOMENT! Most of us rarely get the opportunity to have a few days to ourselves, let alone get to spend that time surrounded by so many fellow bloggers, don’t lessen your experience with worry or self-doubt. Speak up, raise your hand, and dance when the music plays; who knows when you’ll ever get the chance again!
- At the end of the day it doesn’t matter how many business cards you have if you can’t remember anyone’s face or what you talked about. Sometimes you’ll make a connection and sometimes you won’t, it’s just how it goes, don’t take it personal and don’t force something that’s just not happening.
- Oh, and hang out in the lobby. It’s where all the cool kids are!
- There’s really only one way to connect after an event. Send an email that says, “Hey I really liked talking/hanging out/dancing/standing in line with you, I’d love to keep in touch…”